The place Is Alex Palou In 2023?

The one factor that’s clear within the Alex Palou contract scenario is that the 2021 NTT IndyCar Sequence champion has his sights on Method One within the close to future.

In reality, Palou’s agent, Salvatore Gandolfo, the CEO and Founding father of Monaco Enhance Administration (MOM), issued this assertion late Friday, July 15:

“We’ve been conscious of Alex’s potential as a driver lengthy earlier than he got here into the limelight. Collectively, we’ve walked our path to success in three continents.

“Seeing him grow to be part of the McLaren racing household is one other massive step ahead: this deal opens a window on the Method One world, which I feel is each driver’s ambition and has at all times been a major aim for our administration to satisfy.

“I want to thank Zak Brown (McLaren CEO) and McLaren for making this actual and I at all times wish to categorical my gratitude to CGR for serving to Alex on his strategy to Indycar (sic) success.”

When IndyCar workforce proprietor Chip Ganassi arrived within the paddock on Friday morning for the Honda Indy Toronto, he remained adamant that he has a contract for Palou to drive for his workforce in 2023. The proprietor exercised his choice for the 2021 NTT IndyCar Sequence champion to return to the No. 10 NTT Knowledge Honda subsequent season.

When Palou met with the media a couple of hours later, he mentioned he was completely satisfied to complete the season with Ganassi’s workforce however supplied little extra involving a contract he signed with McLaren for 2023.

When Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward spoke to the media on Friday, he mentioned Palou will not be driving in IndyCar subsequent yr.

After ending third in Sunday’s Honda Indy Toronto, Arrow McLaren SP driver Felix Rosenqvist – one other driver who signed a contract with McLaren in 2023 – mentioned Palou might not run wherever subsequent season. That it’s a scenario that might legally preserve him out of racing for a yr.

“In the intervening time it does not sound like he’ll race in any respect,” Rosenqvist mentioned. “It is as much as legal professionals and stuff.

“Actually, it is not my enterprise in any respect. I feel truthfully it hasn’t actually modified something. This complete deal went down months in the past. I did not know all the main points of it that I do know now, however nothing has truly modified.”

That’s the newest involving some of the complicated contract circumstances in latest IndyCar historical past. As a substitute of getting readability on the problem, it seems this example gained’t be decided with out authorized intervention.

It’s a multi-layered controversy that impacts extra than simply Palou, Ganassi and McLaren.

Right here’s what’s at stake.

To Ganassi, a contract is a contract, and he plans on implementing what’s within the contract. Palou is a high younger expertise in IndyCar and regardless of the entire noise that started with final Tuesday’s stunning bulletins from each CGI and McLaren, he stays a challenger for the 2022 IndyCar title.

To Palou, shifting to McLaren means a rise in wage and a potential entry into the McLaren Method One workforce. He’s promised a Method One check as a part of the deal.

To Rosenqvist, if Palou is allowed to hitch McLaren and goes to Method One or perhaps a season in Method E, then the driving force from Sweden may very well be again in Arrow McLaren SP’s Indy automobile. If Palou finally ends up at Arrow McLaren SP, then Rosenqvist could be on his approach again to Method E.

By the point the weekend ended, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon scored his 52nd IndyCar victory, tying him with the legendary Mario Andretti for second on IndyCar’s all-time wins record. Solely AJ Foyt has extra with 67.

Rosenqvist had his greatest end of the season in third.

Rosenqvist is hopeful his efficiency will persuade workforce principal Zak Brown of protecting him in IndyCar.

“I feel if Zak was positive I used to be going to Method E, he would have already mentioned it,” Rosenqvist mentioned. “I’ll take that likelihood. If there’s an opportunity for me to be right here subsequent yr, I’ll attempt to show I can do this.”

Palou, who had engine points in {qualifications} and began 22nd, confirmed why he’s in such excessive demand by racing his strategy to sixth place.

Dixon has raced for Ganassi since 2002. Rosenqvist referred to as him a “position mannequin” for different drivers within the sequence. That’s the reason Dixon’s phrases have that means on this concern involving his teammate and his racing workforce.

“For positive, there’s some awkwardness,” Dixon mentioned Friday. “When you had been going to have an instance of how to not go about issues, that is 100% how you’ll do it.

“It doesn’t impression us as a workforce so far as the objectives, it’s to return right here and win, regardless of which driver does it.

“The job is regular. Apart from the noise, it’s a full weekend.

“For me, honesty is vital. Loyalty as properly. It’s very simple on this neighborhood to alter how you’re appeared upon fairly shortly.

“Private view from myself and the way I’d do that, I wouldn’t have accomplished it this manner.”

Dixon doesn’t know the main points of Palou’s dueling contracts, however mentioned it sounds “fairly sophisticated.”

“I don’t know the place it actually goes,” Ganassi mentioned. “Actually, all of my offers with Chip have been actually simple. You sit down, have a chat, take a look at what all people is taking a look at doing. Even once I’ve had choices, I’ve gone to him and mentioned, ‘these are my choices, what ought to we do?’

“After all, you could have discussions that don’t go properly. My first dialogue with Chip didn’t go the best way I assumed it could go, however I’ve revered how black and white the operation has at all times been with me.”

O’Ward supplied his fascinating viewpoint on a possible IndyCar teammate in 2023.

“I truly don’t know if he might be becoming a member of us in IndyCar,” O’Ward mentioned of Palou. “That’s a Zak Brown query. I actually don’t know what’s going to occur. I actually hope Felix Rosenqvist stays.

“Loopy week, sure.

“I used to be at dinner with Felix on Tuesday night time. We came upon collectively. I referred to as and requested what was happening? I referred to as Zak Brown, the man that has all of the solutions. He’s the one with all of the solutions. We’re all floating items.”

O’Ward is a floating piece as a result of he additionally has desires of racing in Method One. He examined the McLaren F1 automobile at Abu-Dhabi final November and has been promised one other check by Brown sooner or later.

Final week, McLaren examined Colton Herta of Andretti Autosport in as a part of its Testing of Earlier Vehicles (TPC) program in Portugal. Brown helps Herta get factors for his tremendous license for a potential F1 profession if workforce proprietor Michael Andretti is ready to be part of Method One.

“Zak Brown is the one one which has that quantity of energy to try this,” O’Ward mentioned. “Zak has a number of say within the F1 workforce and makes a number of choices for IndyCar, F1, Excessive E, Method E. Here’s a man who has an in, in every single place. It could possibly get emotional from a driver’s standpoint, as a result of if you’re with one other workforce, that’s not a chance after which this comes round.”

O’Ward can’t converse for Palou, however he actually understands what has led him to this example:

Chasing a Method One dream.

“You’ve been dreaming of this your complete life,” O’Ward mentioned. “What at you going to do?

“If there’s a chance of attending to that one additional step that may make your dream fulfilled without end and you’re dumb sufficient, who isn’t going to take that?

“I do know lots of people are like, ‘Properly, I do know lots of people that don’t wish to go to F1.’ Belief me, everyone seems to be mendacity if they are saying that and don’t take the chance as a result of it’s Method One.”

Listed below are two extra factors to think about:

If Palou will get the F1 experience and O’Ward doesn’t, O’Ward is not going to be completely satisfied.

If O’Ward will get the F1 experience at McLaren and Palou doesn’t, then it’s Palou who’s sad.

And if Herta someway results in a McLaren F1 automobile and neither Palou or O’Ward get it, each might be upset.

“Or possibly none of us get chosen and so they all decide another person,” O’Ward mentioned Friday. “We’ve received Toronto this weekend, Iowa after which the rest of the IndyCar season. Every thing else has to fall into place. No person right here in Toronto can dictate what’s going to occur.

“Zak Brown will transfer which approach he desires. That’s the scenario we’re all in. Now we have to carry out and have enjoyable.”

If Palou is assigned to Arrow McLaren SP’s IndyCar program subsequent season, Brown would have the ending piece of a workforce that includes a number of the high younger expertise within the sequence.

He would have younger drivers O’Ward, and Palou mixed with veteran Alexander Rossi, who nonetheless has unbelievable uncooked expertise and is able to reboot his profession after three disappointing seasons at Andretti Autosport.

“I feel it could be implausible to have him (Palou) on the workforce,” O’Ward mentioned. “Each him and Rossi would carry a very new feeling as a result of our automobile is completely different than each different automobile on the grid. We’ve not been good in every single place, however we’re fairly sporty.

“Alex is aware of Ganassi after which Rossi is aware of Andretti, so they’re two very completely different guys which have pushed two very completely different vehicles coming to our automobile. I feel it could be an enormous benefit to know the place we’re at.

“The largest factor is data of one other high workforce and extracting the place we’re weak and what we have to work on. The extra data, the higher.”

Regardless of the acrimony, Palou proved over the weekend, he can shut out the noise and carry out for Chip Ganassi Racing by means of the rest of the season.

“I feel we’re all dedicated to successful the championship,” Palou mentioned. “It’s an incredible alternative. I’ve nothing however the utmost respect for Chip personally and for the workforce. We are going to do one of the best we will on the race monitor.

“We’re working with professionals, not people who aren’t skilled. The workforce is working tremendous good with me, and all people is supported to successful this championship collectively.

“I’m tremendous completely satisfied the place I’m and dedicated to successful this championship since race one,” he mentioned. “I’m proud of my workforce, my crew, my teammates, and every little thing. Nothing has modified, not the cash. It’s this championship we wish to win.”

If he’s so completely satisfied and it’s “not concerning the cash,” then why does Palou wish to go away?

When pressed on the McLaren scenario, Palou mentioned he has nothing else so as to add to what he mentioned already.

“I’m not going to inform extra about what I mentioned already,” Palou mentioned. “We’re preventing for a championship collectively and going to attempt to do one of the best we will to win it.”

Palou mentioned he has “no thought” how the contract scenario might be resolved.

“I do know that Chip Ganassi and all people round me are all professionals and we wish to win,” Palou mentioned. “I’m not going to say we’re going to have a beer and clear up it, however I hope it finally ends up that approach.

“I’ve nothing else to say,” Palou concluded. “I’m not going to touch upon the longer term.”

Once more, this example is as multi-layered as an onion. However like an onion, the extra layers which can be pealed again, the stronger it turns into.

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