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McLaren are reportedly suing IndyCar champion Alex Palou for £19million after the 26-year-old backed out of a contract to join the F1 team. The Woking giants are currently fifth in this season’s Constructors’ Championship standings, with driving duo Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri claiming five podium finishes between them.
GP Fans have reported that a September 29 filing in the High Court of Justice Business and Property Courts of England and Wales Commercial Court found that Palou had no outstanding obligation under any contract or agreement that would prevent him from joining McLaren at the end of the IndyCar season.
The ace was set to leave Chip Ganassi Racing a year early and join McLaren as an IndyCar and reserve F1 driver but subsequently told McLaren boss Zak Brown that he would not be honouring the agreement.
“This is incredibly disappointing considering the commitment he has made to us both directly and publicly and our significant investment in him based on that commitment,” Brown wrote in a letter to his employees.
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“We dedicated a lot of time, money and resources preparing to welcome Alex into our team because we believed in him and were looking forward to IndyCar wins with him. Coming out of his team dispute last fall, we were assured by Alex of his commitment to Arrow McLaren reflected in the contract he entered into with us.
“Unfortunately, it now appears our belief, commitment, investment and trust in Alex was misplaced as it is not being reciprocated. We have made clear to Alex that we expect him to honour and perform under his contract with us. However, the leadership team and I are focused on addressing our 2024 driver lineup in order to be prepared if Alex does not do so.”
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Palou won this season’s IndyCar title by 78 points to claim his second championship in three seasons. And he addressed his F1 U-turn last month as he told NBC: “I agree, it’s sad. I’ve always tried to be a nice person, and I always thought I was doing the right things. That’s how my family taught me how to do stuff, and then suddenly, I look like I do everything wrong, that I don’t listen. And that I just do whatever I feel on that day.”
And Chip Ganassi Racing chief Chip Ganassi recently said: “We don’t comment on driver contracts. You know that. We as a team work on wins and championships.”
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