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5 ways the McLaren Formula 1, IndyCar situations could play out

Alex Palou and Oscar Piastri both intend to compete for McLaren in 2023, but ongoing litigation will determine where their IndyCar and Formula 1 futures are.

Two drivers whom McLaren have signed for 2023 must await the conclusion of ongoing litigation to see where they will actually be allowed to compete next year: Chip Ganassi Racing IndyCar driver Alex Palou and Alpine Formula 1 reserve driver Oscar Piastri.

Chip Ganassi Racing announced that they had picked up Palou’s option for the 2023 season, only for McLaren to announce a few hours later that they had signed the 25-year-old Spaniard for next year, though the specific series wasn’t mentioned.

A similar situation transpired in Formula 1, when Alpine confirmed Piastri as the replacement for Aston Martin-bound two-time world champion Fernando Alonso, only for Piastri to announce that he would not be competing for the Enstone outfit.

It had emerged that Piastri and manager Mark Webber had been in talks with McLaren about the 21-year-old Australian replacing Daniel Ricciardo, who then had a contract that ran through 2023, a year early. It was later confirmed that Ricciardo and the Woking-based team would indeed cut ties after 2022.

Not surprisingly, both the Palou case and the Piastri case have gone to court, courtesy of their current teams.

McLaren have since deleted their tweet announcing Palou’s signing, with Chip Ganassi Racing still confident they will win the Palou ruling, and Alpine remain confident that they will win the Piastri ruling.

Whether that confidence from their current teams simply translates to significant compensation or the drivers actually being restricted from competing for McLaren in one or more series next year remains to be seen, as these scenarios are quite literally unprecedented.

Regardless, it has prevented McLaren from solidifying their driver lineups for next year — and not just for Formula 1 and IndyCar, but for Formula E as well.

There are several sure things for McLaren entering next year. Lando Norris is set to return to their Formula 1 team, Pato O’Ward is set to return to their IndyCar team, Alexander Rossi is set to join their IndyCar team, and Rene Rast is set to join their Formula E team.

Felix Rosenqvist currently competes for their IndyCar team, and despite the fact that he was announced to have a contract with McLaren for next year (in either IndyCar or Formula E), it emerged in early August that he isn’t actually under contract with the team for 2023.

That development indicated that perhaps this announcement came as a way for McLaren to have a fallback option if the Palou deal didn’t work out, all while (a) not committing themselves to the 30-year-old Swede yet (b) also preventing other teams from pursuing his services in case they end up needing his services — somewhat ironic, given the team we’re talking about here.

So how will the Palou and Piastri situations play out? Here are five ways McLaren’s lineups across could look across these three series next year, depending on the outcomes.

McLaren scenarios: No. 1 – Both Alex Palou and Oscar Piastri

  • Formula 1: Lando Norris, Oscar Piastri
  • IndyCar: Pato O’Ward, Alexander Rossi, Alex Palou
  • Formula E: Rene Rast, Felix Rosenqvist

McLaren scenarios: No. 2 – Alex Palou but not Oscar Piastri (option 1)

  • Formula 1: Lando Norris, Alex Palou
  • IndyCar: Pato O’Ward, Alexander Rossi, Felix Rosenqvist
  • Formula E: Rene Rast, TBD

McLaren scenarios: No. 3 – Alex Palou but not Oscar Piastri (option 2)

  • Formula 1: Lando Norris, TBD
  • IndyCar: Pato O’Ward, Alexander Rossi, Alex Palou
  • Formula E: Rene Rast, Felix Rosenqvist

McLaren scenarios: No. 4 – Oscar Piastri but not Alex Palou

  • Formula 1: Lando Norris, Oscar Piastri
  • IndyCar: Pato O’Ward, Alexander Rossi, Felix Rosenqvist
  • Formula E: Rene Rast, TBD

McLaren scenarios: No. 5 – Neither Alex Palou nor Oscar PIastri

  • Formula 1: Lando Norris, TBD
  • IndyCar: Pato O’Ward, Alexander Rossi, Felix Rosenqvist
  • Formula E: Rene Rast, TBD

Which of these scenarios will accurately describe McLaren’s 2023 driver lineups across Formula 1, IndyCar, and Formula E? Could we possibly get another unexpected twist, such as Rosenqvist signing elsewhere following the early August bombshell?


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