What are the futures of Alex Palou, McLaren and Ganassi

In the most dizzying dose of silly IndyCar season news to date, Alex Palou announced on Tuesday night that he was leaving Chip Ganassi Racing for the McLaren Racing family for the 2023 season just hours after Ganassi announced that he had exercised his team option for the defending champion for the next year.

Here’s what we know:

Alex Palou alleges team foul in release announcing ’23 race

In a thread of tweets on Tuesday night, Palou responded to CGR’s previous post regarding his team option on him for 2023, saying the post was made “without my approval” and with a quote that didn’t come from him. . In light of recent events, he said he would leave the IndyCar team at the end of the year.

“I recently learned from the media that this afternoon without my approval, Chip Ganassi Racing issued a press release announcing that I would be racing with CGR in 2023. Even more surprisingly, the CGR release included a ‘quote’ which didn’t come from me,” Palou wrote. “I did not endorse this press release, and I did not write or endorse this quote. As I recently advised CGR, for personal reasons, I do not intend to proceed with the press release. team after 2022.

“Apart from the unfortunate events of tonight, I have great respect for the CGR team and look forward to finishing this season strong together.

Members of the #5 Arrow McLaren SP crew of Pato O'Ward celebrate as their driver nears the finish line to win Sunday's IndyCar race at Barber Motorsports Park.

McLaren announce Palou signing after driver tweets

Four minutes after Palou’s Twitter feed ended, McLaren Racing sent out a press release announcing Palou’s signing for 2023, following the end of the 2022 IndyCar season. As part of its deal, the statement said Palou would join Colton Herta and Pato O’Ward in the McLaren F1 team’s TPC (Test of a Previous Car) program, which Herta just finished participating in earlier on Tuesday.

After:Colton Herta on two-day McLaren F1 test: ‘I think I’m pretty fast’

As a test driver in this programme, Palou will use the 2021 McLaren car in a test session so that the F1 team can assess it for a future opportunity – which the team will have in a year or so. less. McLaren F1 team principal Andreas Seidl said on Tuesday that the team will begin determining when potential drivers will hold at least two Free Practice 1 sessions following the series’ four-week break on August 28.

More importantly, McLaren’s statement did not indicate where Palou would be driving in 2023, still officially with one IndyCar seat and two Formula E seats open, as well as the potential for an open seat in Formula 1, if McLaren and/or Daniel Ricciardo deciding to part ways at the end of this year – something McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown implied was on the table in May.

“Palou will join McLaren following the conclusion of his 2022 IndyCar season,” McLaren’s statement read. “McLaren Racing will confirm its full driver rosters across all of its race series in due course.”

Regarding the news, Brown wrote on Twitter: “Delighted to welcome Alex Palou to the McLaren Racing family! As IndyCar Champion, Alex is a fantastic addition to the already phenomenal talent we have in our driver roster. Bring on 2023! “

Chip Ganassi and Mike Hull talk in pit lane during qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on Saturday, May 17, 2014 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Ganassi responds to statements by Palou and McLaren

In a text message to IndyStar, Chip Ganassi Racing team manager Mike Hull said that despite Palou’s claims that he will not be driving for CGR in IndyCar in 2023 and McLaren’s announcement, Palou is signed with CGR for next season.

“Our statement today already says so,” Hull wrote. “Alex Palou is under contract with the team until 2023.”

Additionally, a team public relations manager told IndyStar, “We can confirm that Alex Palou is contracted to the team through 2023.”

Chip Ganassi chats with those along the grid Sunday, May 29, 2022, before the start of the 106th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Ganassi runs team option on Palou for ’23

At 3:31 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon, Chip Ganassi Racing sent out a statement announcing that it had taken an option on Palou which the team had written into the teams contract when signing the Spaniard in the fall of 2020 , allegedly blocking him for the 2023 campaign. Last month in Detroit, rumors began circulating that Palou was on Brown’s wishlist for his expanding IndyCar program, but the driver didn’t say much about what his contract did and didn’t say. not. What it would offer, however, was this:

>> He was happy where he was

>> I was not actively looking for a new ride

>> Satisfied with the money he was currently earning

>> I was not aiming for a future opportunity in F1

Ganassi had since said his IndyCar team would be “status quo” for 2023, appearing to quash any rumors that Palou or even Scott Dixon would leave for AMSP at the end of the year. Tuesday’s original post only seemed to further reinforce that statement.

“Alex’s track record speaks for itself,” Ganassi said in the statement. “He is a proven champion and one of the toughest riders in the world. We are very happy to continue working together.”

The statement also attributed this quote to Palou regarding the news he would drive for Ganassi in 2023 – a quote he said was not from and was not endorsed by him: “It’s a great feeling to know that I’ll be back with Chip Ganassi Racing. The team welcomed me with open arms from day one, and I’m excited to continue working with Chip, Mike Hull, the folks at Honda NTT DATA #10 and everyone in the organization. The goals remain the same, and we will continue to work tirelessly to achieve them.”

Chip Ganassi Racing driver Álex Palou (10) sits on the wall as he waits Saturday, May 21, 2022, during qualifying for the 106th race of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Palou changes director

Since entering the IndyCar scene, Palou has been represented by a Monaco-based management company named “Monaco Augmentation Management”. Although MIM as a company has represented Palou in all of his dealings, former IndyCar driver Roger Yasukawa has come over from Palou’s days in Super Formula with Team Goh to help advise him on his dealings.

Although Yasukawa told IndyStar on Tuesday that he never had any official “terms” with MIM, he is listed on the company’s website as an “adviser on the right path.” In his biography, it is stated that Yasakawa “will represent Monaco Augmentation Management on the IndyCar racing scene alongside Palou”.

But with this latest development, Yasukawa told IndyStar he is no longer working alongside Palou in an official capacity, saying he and MIM cannot get along, leaving him “to back out of any negotiations on Alex’s behalf. “. To clarify, he said, “I will continue to support Alex on a personal basis and obviously remain close friends, but the whole management aspect is handled by MIM.”

According to the company’s website, MIM represents three racing drivers around the world, including Formula 3’s David Vidales, Porsche Formula E’s Pascal Wehrlein and Palou. The company is led by its founder and CEO Salvatore Gandolfo, who was previously CEO of Spanish racing team Campos Racing, for which Palou drove from 2014 to 2015, including his time in GP3 and Formula 2.

McLaren Racing Chief Executive Zak Brown talks with Penske Entertainment Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mark Miles, Sunday, May 30, 2021, during the 105th Annual Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Musical chairs McLaren version

If Palou is driving within McLaren’s four-race family in 2023, he now has a plethora of options for the various rides he has to complete. The only thing we can say for sure is that Alexander Rossi will drive for AMSP in IndyCar in 2023 – although we don’t even know what car number yet.

A few days before the 500, AMSP announced that it had signed O’Ward to a multi-year contract until 2025, theoretically locking him into IndyCar for that period, but being part of the TPC program, it would not be difficult to imagine Brown making the switch for O’Ward if he were to stand out from the rest of his F1 options alongside Lando Norris.

Last month, McLaren Racing announced that it had signed Felix Rosenqvist to a multi-year contract for one of its many open rides after the end of its second IndyCar season in the No. 7 Chevy. Presumably the news meant the Swede would drive in IndyCar or Formula E – whichever Brown deems the best option for McLaren. Prior to his four seasons in IndyCar, Rosenqvist was a winning driver in Formula E and is the only driver to have won in both series.

Last week, Brown said he was pretty far behind in one of his two Formula E seats, meaning Rosenqvist, if he landed in Formula E, would team up with this “driver who will be named later. “.

Although Ricciardo has an F1 deal with McLaren until the 2023 season, Brown said in May that there were ‘mechanisms’ by which they are not continuing in their current situation – implying that either The other, or maybe both parties, had a disclaimer in the agreement. In short, these comments from Brown imply that the Australian driver is by no means locked into his F1 race for next year.

Add Palou, along with Herta, who has an IndyCar contract with Andretti Autosport until the end of 2023 but Michael Andretti could struggle to avoid an F1 opportunity, and you have a who’s who of drivers from around the world. waiting for Brown to piece together his puzzle.

To recap, it’s:

  • Pato O’Ward
  • Felix Rosenqvist
  • Alex Palou
  • Daniel Ricardo
  • Mysterious potential Formula E driver
  • Colton Herta (maybe)

Potentially landing in:

  • 2 IndyCar seats
  • 2 Formula E seats
  • 1 Formula 1 seat

Everything will be decided in a few months, even a few weeks.

And if you’ve come this far and are scratching your head with more questions than answers, then I promise you’re not alone.

Email IndyStar sportswriter Nathan Brown at nlbrown@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter: @By_NathanBrown.

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