McLaren suing IndyCar champion Palou for $23 million in UK court

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Alex Palou said that he had “no outstanding obligation under any contract or agreement” with McLaren after the IndyCar season ended, according to the Sept. 29 filing in the High Court of Justice Business and Property Courts of England and Wales Commercial Court.

The two-time IndyCar champion is being sued by McLaren Racing for a minimum of $23 million to gather the costs the team says it lost when Palou failed to honour his contract with the British team.

The 26-year-old has been in the middle of a dramatic saga between McLaren and Chip Ganassi Racing over the past year prior to Palou and Ganassi coming to a compromise.

This meant that the Spaniard would drive for Ganassi as well as being part of McLaren’s F1 Team in 2023.

Despite the reigning IndyCar champion competing in first practice for last year’s US Grand Prix, McLaren Racing CEO was told by attorneys that Palou would sign a three-year extension with Ganassi until 2026.

Palou failed to show up for his McLaren reserve driver duties at the Singapore Grand Prix despite the team holding a hotel room for him.

McLaren’s F1 lineup looks to be relatively stable as the team makes strides up the field with Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri.

Palou said he would prefer to remain in IndyCar rather than settle for a reserve role in Formula 1.

“If you look at my interviews until 2021, I would say I was not focused on F1 at all, and that was totally true. But things changed when I won the championship.

“I was 24. I had just won my first big championship and what if I try something and it goes sideways, then I can come back when I’m 27 and still super young and can still do it for 10 or 15 years.

“The door opened a little bit with McLaren. It was amazing. The opportunity was great, but there was nothing else there of, ‘You will have a car.’ Maybe if I were 20, I would have waited, but I’m not 20. I’m 26. I don’t know of anyone who waited until 30 that got into Formula One.”

McLaren believes Palou signed two contracts with them: One as an F1 reserve driver and another to drive for Arrow McLaren in IndyCar.

The British outfit is aiming to recoup all the money they spent on Palou’s test driver commitments and $15.5 million in partner agreements, and $3.5 million in third parties around his testing programme.