IndyCar championship leader Alex Palou has sensationally pulled out of a deal to join McLaren in the single-seater series next season, despite having signed a contract.
The Spaniard has reportedly told the British team that he has “no intention” of moving to McLaren in 2024, something McLaren CEO Zak Brown has labelled as “extremely disappointing”.
Palou has competed for Chip Ganassi Racing the last three seasons and had tried to force his way out of the team last year; however, he agreed to compete for the side in 2023 before moving to McLaren.
Everything has seemingly changed again though, with Associated Press reporting that the former IndyCar Champion has informed McLaren that he won’t become their driver.
Astonishingly, Palou pulled out of the signed McLaren deal without informing his management team, who have since dropped the star from their roster.
Palou is, of course, currently McLaren’s reserve driver in Formula 1, although one can only imagine that these ties will also be cut, something which is yet to be announced.
Brown wrote to the staff working for McLaren’s IndyCar team, to inform them of the shocking change of events.
“This is incredibly disappointing considering the commitment he has made to us both directly and publicly and our significant investment in him based on that commitment,” Brown wrote to his team, as reported by the Mirror.
“We dedicated a lot of time, money and resources preparing to welcome Alex into our team because we believed in him and were looking forward to IndyCar wins with him. Coming out of his team dispute last fall, we were assured by Alex of his commitment to Arrow McLaren reflected in the contract he entered into with us.”
Interestingly, Palou’s McLaren contract saga comes after Williams and AlphaTauri both held talks with the Spanish driver’s representatives.
It’s believed that the two teams held talks at “some level” in recent weeks, with many now wondering if there’s been an unknown development or if he wishes to remain with Chip Ganassi in IndyCar.
Given that he signed his McLaren contract himself though, it’s likely that this won’t be the end of the story just yet.