By David Morgan, Associate Editor
Defending NTT IndyCar Series champion Alex Palou will have a new home for 2023 as McLaren Racing announced it signed the Spanish-born driver to the team for next season.
The move comes the same day that Palou’s current team, Chip Ganassi Racing, sent out a preemptive announcement that he would be back with the organization next season, but that was shot down by Palou in a series of tweets before the McLaren announcement dropped.
McLaren’s IndyCar arm, Arrow McLaren SP, currently has Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist in its stable this season, with Alexander Rossi moving over to the team next season to drive what is expected to be the team’s third car.
The team recently signed Rosenqvist to a contract extension, but whether that will be in IndyCar or elsewhere in some of the team’s other motorsports endeavors is still to be determined.
Palou’s move to McLaren has him in the same state of flux as the announcement did not specify where exactly he would drive next season, only noting that his duties with the team will also include the chance to test with the McLaren Formula 1 team as a part of its 021 MCL35M F1 car testing program, in which O’Ward and Colton Herta are also participants.
Three seasons into his IndyCar career, Palou has scored three wins and 13 podium finishes in 39 starts, culminating in the 2021 series championship.
“I’m extremely excited to join the driver roster for such an iconic team as McLaren,” Palou said. “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. I want to thank everyone at Chip Ganassi Racing for everything they have done for me.”
“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,” Zak Brown, CEO, McLaren Racing added. “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.”