Alex Palou to stay at Chip Ganassi Racing for 2023

Alex Palou in the paddock during the 2022 IndyCar season
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Can fences be mended when two parties sue one another under the guise of a breach of a contract?

Apparently, yes they can.

After a tumultuous display of back-and-forth issues between driver and car-owner, the likes of which American open-wheel racing has not seen in thirty years, a compromise is seemingly met for all parties involved.

For fans, spectators, journalists, engine suppliers, and team owners, the highly publicized mystery had been solved.

Alex Palou will be staying put at Chip Ganassi Racing after all.

In a Twitter thread posted on Wednesday morning, the 25-year-old driver from Barcelona announced that he would be staying put in the #10 for Chip Ganassi Racing to exercise the original contract’s option for the full 2023 IndyCar campaign.

At the same time, the Spaniard announced that a partnership with McLaren was not entirely off the table, as the second of three tweets in the announcement thread stated that the 2021 holder of the Astor Cup would be allowed to pursue Formula 1 testing with McLaren as part of a closed testing session that McLaren announced would commence later this week at Palou’s home circuit, Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

The test would see the Spaniard be joined by Arrow McLaren SP IndyCar driver Pato O’Ward, as they will each be testing the MCL35M in the team’s Testing of Previous Cars program.

It is an announcement that now makes sense as to where the Spaniard more than likely would have gone had his deal with McLaren gone through without a hitch.

In capturing the 2021 Astor Cup, Palou garnered enough points to qualify for an FIA Super License. With this achievement, it makes one wonder if Zak Brown’s vision was to elevate Palou to become Lando Norris’ teammate at McLaren and compete for a Formula 1 title in 2023.

As Palou’s original contract was with McLaren the organization and not strictly Arrow McLaren SP, one cannot help but beg a legitimate question of:

What if?

In addition, the confirmation solidifies that, while an expansion of Arrow McLaren SP was already confirmed in the addition of Alexander Rossi, Felix Rosenqvist will indeed be returning to drive the #7 Chevrolet for the 2023 IndyCar campaign. While there was never a question of if the Swede would be leaving McLaren altogether, the main question would be if, due to his Formula E experience, he would be moved over to McLaren’s Nissan outlet in Formula E for the 2022-2023 campaign alongside Minden born driver René Rast.

For Chip Ganassi Racing, their owner likes winners. It makes sense to keep a winning formula of that magnitude together. If the Pennsylvania businessman knows one thing about success, it would be preparing his athletes for bigger success.

The move of Alexander Rossi to Arrow McLaren SP for 2023 echoes memories of when Williams famously farmed out Juan Pablo Montoya to Chip Ganassi Racing for the 1999 campaign in what was then known as CART.

With the continued debate about the limited number of points that IndyCar drivers earn to obtain a super license with the FIA, moves such as Alexander Rossi to McLaren and the Testing of Previous Cars program featuring Palou, O’Ward, and Colton Herta, provide glimpses of hope that the path to Formula 1 for an American-based driver is, indeed, possible.

It is not a question of if, it is merely a question of:

When?

Featured Image Credit: Travis Hinkle/Penske Entertainment

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