Chip Ganassi blasts McLaren for ‘playing victim’ over Palou’s contract

Chip Ganassi blasts McLaren for 'playing victim' over Palou's contract

Chip Ganassi, who currently runs Palou in the IndyCar series, has not liked McLaren’s approaches for his driver and has finally reacted to the contract move after it failed.

Over the weekend, the conflict between IndyCar teams Ganassi and McLaren over who will hire Alex Palou for the upcoming season got more heated.

In a letter published by McLaren CEO Zak Brown on Friday, the current IndyCar championship leader dismissed any desire to uphold his commitment to McLaren for 2024.

Brown stated that he was deeply sorry to find that Alex Palou had chosen to default on an existing agreement with McLaren because Palou had received money in advance as well as time with the F1 operation as part of the deal.

Last year, Ganassi took legal action to make sure Palou met his contractual obligations to drive for him in 2023 while enabling him to fulfill his F1 reserve duties for McLaren. However, he made it obvious that he has little patience for the way McLaren’s senior management have handled his projected move for 2024 as it has developed.

In response, Chip Ganassi called out Brown, saying that he was “inaccurate and wrong” about what had happened and that McLaren’s management was “playing the victim” over the conflict.

“Anyone that knows me knows that I don’t make a habit of commenting about contract situations,” Ganassi said in a statement released by the team on Saturday. “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.”

The 2021 IndyCar champion ultimately stayed with Ganassi for the current season after the contract hitch and appears to be on track to win his second championship this fall as he leads teammate Scott Dixon by 101 points with three races left.

The decision also allowed Palou to get experience in McLaren’s older F1 cars and act as the team’s official F1 reserve driver at US events, including the Miami Grand Prix in May. Palou was anticipated to join McLaren’s IndyCar squad in 2024.

Palou participated in the first practice session at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, for the US GP last season.

He previously participated in tests at the Red Bull Ring and the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. His most recent test trip for McLaren F1 took place at the Hungaroring in June alongside the team’s regular driver Oscar Piastri.

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