Chip Ganassi Racing Said IndyCar Champion Alex Palou Is Staying With the Team. He’s Not.

Alex Palou after qualifying on the front row for the 2022 Indianapolis 500.

Alex Palou after qualifying on the front row for the 2022 Indianapolis 500.
Photo: Chris Owens / Penske Entertainment

On Tuesday, amid countless other motorsport announcements, the Chip Ganassi Racing team announced that defending IndyCar champion Alex Palou would be staying on with the team for the 2023 season. There’s just one problem: Palou says he’s moving to the greater McLaren Racing family.

At 3:55 p.m. ET, Chip Ganassi Racing announced that it would be exercising an option to retain Palou as part of the team for 2023. The first indication that something wasn’t exactly right was the quote from Palou (emphasis added):

“It’s a great feeling knowing I’ll be back with Chip Ganassi Racing next season,” said Alex Palou. “The team welcomed me with open arms from day one, and I’m excited to continue working with Chip, Mike Hull, the folks on the No. 10 NTT DATA car and everyone within the organization. The goals remain the same and we will continue to work relentlessly towards achieving them.”

Listen, I know Palou has been in America for a couple years now, but I don’t know any Spaniard who would refer to any team as “the folks at the No. 10 NTT DATA car.”

But the true confirmation came later in a three-tweet thread from Palou, which stated that he was actually not staying with Chip Ganassi Racing for 2023.

Palou posted:

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. Even more surprising was that CGR’s release included a “quote” which did not come from me.

I did not approve that press release, and I did not author or approve that quote. As I have recently informed CGR, for personal reasons, I do not intend to continue with the team after 2022.

This evening’s unfortunate events aside, I have great respect for the CGR team, and look forward to finishing this season strongly together.

That seems like an extremely big “oops” on CGR’s part! Especially since, soon after, McLaren announced that Palou would be joining its program.

The thing about the McLaren announcement, though, is that it didn’t specify where Palou would be going — just that he’d be with McLaren. It was similar to an announcement a few weeks ago, where McLaren as a general racing program confirmed Felix Rosenqvist would be staying with the “team,” but without sharing what discipline he’d be competing in.

So, where within the greater McLaren hierarchy will Palou end up? That remains to be seen — but this silly season is already shaping up to be one for the books.

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