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Ganassi: McLaren “playing the victim” over Palou IndyCar contract dispute

Chip Ganassi has hit back at IndyCar rivals McLaren over championship leader Alex Palou, stating that its claim he broke a contract agreement is “inaccurate and wrong”.

Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda Front Row Photo

Ganassi responded to the overnight story that broke about McLaren revealing that Palou “does not intend to honor his contractual obligations to race with us in IndyCar in 2024 and beyond".

On Saturday morning, Palou’s now-former management team, Monaco Increase Management, stated that it was "bitterly disappointed to learn about Alex Palou’s decision to break an existing agreement with McLaren for 2024 and beyond”.

In response to this, Ganassi has made a statement of his own, criticising McLaren’s management for “playing the victim” and claimed it is “inaccurate and wrong” about the situation.

The statement from Ganassi read: “Anyone that knows me knows that I don't make a habit of commenting about contract situations. Subsequently, I have been quiet since day one of this story but now I feel I must respond.

“I grew up respecting the McLaren team and their success. The new management does not get my same respect.

“Alex Palou has been a part of our team and under contract since the 2021 season. It is the interference of that contract from McLaren that began this process and ironically, they are now playing the victim.

“Simply stated, the position of McLaren IndyCar regarding our driver is inaccurate and wrong; he remains under contract with CGR.”

Alex Palou, McLaren

Alex Palou, McLaren

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

This latest contractual saga follows a protracted legal battle over Palou's services for 2023, when Ganassi filed a lawsuit against its own driver after he signed a contract with McLaren in the summer of 2022.

A legal mediation led to him staying with Ganassi for this season, in which he seems certain to claim his second IndyCar championship, but allowed him to drive McLaren Formula 1 cars and serve as its reserve F1 driver.

He had seemed set to join the Arrow McLaren IndyCar squad for 2024 until now.

Palou had been an integral part of McLaren’s F1 TPC (testing of previous cars) program, driving most recently at the Hungaroring in June – alongside regular race driver Oscar Piastri – after previous tests at the Red Bull Ring and Barcelona.

He also drove in Free Practice 1 at last year’s United States Grand Prix and was present at May’s Miami Grand Prix as McLaren’s reserve driver.

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