INDIANAPOLIS — It seems in the last three years Alex Palou has either been winning championships in IndyCar or fighting for his legal ability to race in the series.
Late in 2022, as Palou was fresh off his first championship in the NTT IndyCar Series, he became embroiled in legal battles over whether or not he was under contract with Chip Ganassi Racing or McLaren Racing.
It was Palou’s desire to eventually end up in Formula One that had the Spanish driver looking to move to McLaren at that point in time.
Through a settlement, Ganassi kept Palou for the 2023 season while he also served in various developmental roles with McLaren’s F1 arm. Now Palou is back in court again working out a way to get out of a contract he signed with McLaren so that he can stay with Ganassi in IndyCar.
Ganassi announced in late 2023 that Palou agreed to a multi-year deal with the team. Palou said he’s fine with the fact his ambition to race in F1 in the near future didn’t work out.
“I tried. It didn’t really work out,” Palou said. “That’s okay. We’ll try and get many championships if we can, and we’ll try and fight for as many championships and Indy 500s as possible.”
Palou was in contention to win a championship in 2022 when his legal troubles came to a boil, but he could not say if it was those troubles or something else that kept him from winning three straight titles.
“For sure it didn’t help, but I don’t think that we were at the beginning of the season — we were really consistent but we were not winning, and we, in fact, only won one race at the end of the season,” he said. “I think we were missing just a little bit, that little bit of speed that you need to win a championship.”
As for any lingering aspirations for F1, Palou was asked if he’d still want to race in the series if Chip Ganassi somehow started an F1 operation.
“If he wants me to, yeah,” said Palou. “Whatever — yeah. I don’t know, hypothetically. Wherever he goes, I would try. I tried to test a NASCAR, and he didn’t like that.”
Palou finished in the top ten in every race in 2023, which ultimately led to his second championship in three seasons. He also won five races.
“It was a magical season that I know it’s going to be tough to repeat because even on the bad moments we were able to get amazing results, even podiums,” Palou said. “So yeah, I know that there’s seasons that everything that can go wrong goes wrong, and it was not the case for 2023, so hopefully we can repeat that in 2024.”
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