IndyCar champion Palou joins McLaren for 2023, rejects Ganassi claim

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McLaren has announced the signing of IndyCar champion Alex Palou for 2023 despite Chip Ganassi Racing extending his current deal.

Late on Tuesday, Ganassi issued a press release stating they had exercised an option in their contract to retain the Spaniard for a third season in 2023.

However, Palou caused a stir as he later took to Twitter to reject that claim.

“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,” he wrote.

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“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.”

Soon after, McLaren then announced that Palou would be joining their IndyCar team from 2023 and joining fellow racers Pato O'Ward and Colton Herta in their F1 test programme.

“We have always said that we want the best talent at McLaren, and it’s exciting to be able to include Alex on that list,” said CEO Zak Brown.

“I’m also looking forward to seeing him get behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car as part of our Testing of Previous Cars (TPC) programme alongside Pato O’Ward and Colton Herta as we continue to build our driver talent.

“Alex is an incredibly talented driver who has won in every series he has raced in, and I’m happy to welcome him to the McLaren family.”

Palou himself added: “I’m extremely excited to join the driver roster for such an iconic team as McLaren.

“I’m excited to be able to show what I can do behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car and looking at what doors that may open.”