McLaren Sues IndyCar Star Alex Palou Over Contract Dispute

Chip Ganassi Racing driver Álex Palou (10) of Spain stands before the singing of the American National Anthem during the 2023 Gallagher Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis.

Photo: Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket (Getty Images)

IndyCar’s presumptive 2023 champion Alex Palou is facing legal action yet again. Last year, the 26-year-old Spaniard was sued by his current team, Chip Ganassi Racing, for breach of contract as Palou stated that he wouldn’t race for Ganassi in 2023, despite the team picking up an option in his contract. McLaren then announced that it had signed Palou.

A settlement was arbitrated, resulting in Palou racing with Ganassi in 2023 while participating in an F1 testing and development program with McLaren, who paid Palou’s legal fees. It was widely assumed that Palou would jump ship for 2024 when his contract expired. Now, McLaren is suing Palou for damages related to a broken 2024 contract.

According to the Indianapolis Star, Palou was served with UK Commercial Court documents in two suits from McLaren Racing Limited and McLaren Indy, LLC against his racing entity ALPA Racing USA, LLC and himself. The newspaper believes the suits aren’t an attempt to force Palou to honor his contract and race for the team next year but to claim damages in the range of $20 million to $30 million. The damages include a 2024 salary advance that McLaren claims it paid Palou and the cost F1 practice and private test sessions Palou drove with the team.

While Palou has indicated that he won’t race for McLaren in 2024, it isn’t 100 percent certain where he will step behind. However, all signs point toward Palou remaining with Ganassi. The driver-team pairing has seemingly healed all past wounds as they edge closer to sealing their second championship in three seasons this weekend at Gateway.