British media reports that McLaren is seeking at least $23m from IndyCar champion Alex Palou after the Spaniard reneged on his contract for 2024.
According to the filing in the High Court of Justice Business and Property Courts of England and Wales Commercial Court, Palou had agreed that he had “no outstanding obligation under any contract or agreement” that would prevent him from joining McLaren once the 2023 IndyCar season ended.
However, almost a year after controversially rejecting Chip Ganassi Racing for McLaren, the Spaniard performed a complete 180 and opted to reject the Woking-based outfit for the American team.
Had the original deal come to fruition, Palou would have raced for McLaren’s IndyCar project alongside a test and reserve role with the F1 team ahead of a future switch to the world championship.
To that end, Palou took part in a year-long programme with McLaren including private test sessions and his FP1 debut at the US Grand Prix last October.
“It’s very disappointing,” said Zak Brown in August, shortly after Palou announced his decision to remain with Ganassi, “we had a very good relationship. “He hasn’t personally communicated with me about it, which is rather disappointing, given all that we’ve done for him and the opportunities that we have provided.
“I don’t think his decision has anything to do with McLaren per se,” he continued, “our relationship was very strong. It’s just disappointing how it’s been handled on a personal level.
“All our relationships with our drivers are something McLaren take very seriously, I think we do a good job of creating a family environment for our drivers. So to be let down, especially in that manner, is pretty disappointing.
“Alex informed us that he has no intention of honouring his contract with us in IndyCar or in Formula 1,” said the American. “We have a contract, so it’s now in the legal process we filed in London courts last week against him both as a person and his business entity, and we’ll just let the legal proceedings carry the situation forward.”
Since informing McLaren at the beginning of August, Palou has had no contact with them or Brown, whilst also severing ties with the management company that brokered the original deal.