SPEEDWAY, Ind. — A dramatic turn of events that played out on social media has IndyCar driver Alex Palou confirming he will be switching racing teams for the 2023 season.
In a press release Tuesday afternoon Chip Ganassi Racing, whom Palou currently drives for in the #10-car, said that they are exercising their option to extend Palou’s contract with the team through the 2023 season, even attributing a quote to Palou saying “it’s a great feeling knowing I’ll be back with Chip Ganassi Racing next season.”
However, Palou seems to have a different story, announcing within an hour of the CGR release that he was moving to McLaren for next season. The move puts him on the driver roster for McLaren for 2023 and does not necessarily confirm he will be in IndyCar next season.
“I have recently learned from the media that this afternoon, without my approval, Chip Ganassi Racing issued a press release announcing that I would be driving with CGR in 2023,” Palou said in a long tweet thread. “Even more surprising was that CGR’s release included a ‘quote’ which did not come from me.”
“As I have recently informed CGR, for personal reasons, I do not intend to continue with the team after 2022,” he added.
Read the full thread below:
Palou added in a subsequent tweet that he is “looking forward to a future with @McLarenF1.”
McLaren Racing then confirmed on its McLaren F1 Twitter account that Palou had been added to its driver roster for 2023 to “build talent across all of its racing series.” The announcement does not indicate if Palou will be staying in IndyCar for the 2023 season, or if they plan to use him in Formula One or even Formula E.
“We have always said that we want the best talent at McLaren, and it’s exciting to be able to include Alex on that list,” McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown said in a statement.
With that, Chip Ganassi Racing maintained in an emailed statement that says “we can confirm that Alex Palou is under contract with the team through 2023.”
The addition of Palou to the McLaren roster is a peculiar one given the state of flux surrounding the team’s driver line-ups across its Formula One and IndyCar operations. Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo make up the team’s F1 drivers, with Ricciardo on the hot seat for his ride next season.
Ricciardo tweeted this morning that he is “committed to McLaren (F1) through the end of next year.”
Pato O’Ward tested an F1 car late last season and McLaren has also brought in Andretti Autosport driver Colton Herta on a reserve driver/testing deal. Herta recently tested a previous generation F1 car at Abu Dhabi for McLaren.
On the IndyCar side, O’Ward is locked in for an Arrow McLaren SP IndyCar seat in 2023 as is Alexander Rossi, who is leaving Andretti Autosport after this year. Felix Rosenqvist is McLaren’s second driver in IndyCar at the moment and so far is not confirmed for 2023. Rosenqvist has signed a multi-year extension with the team, again with no specifics as to what he will be driving.
With Arrow McLaren SP’s expansion of its IndyCar footprint, a third full-time seat is still up for grabs for 2023. It’s not clear if Rosenqvist or Palou will occupy that seat next season.