McLaren to claim over $20m in damages from Alex Palou

McLaren to claim over $20m in damages from Alex Palou

Chip Ganassi Racing driver Alex Palou was served with U.K. Commercial Court documents in the two cases brought on by McLaren Racing Limited and its IndyCar team against him and his racing organization ALPA Racing USA two days ago, according to reports.

This came days ahead of what could be an IndyCar title-clinching week for championship front-runner Alex Palou.

The lawsuits, which were filed as Part 7 Claims made for the purpose of demanding money from the defendants, indicate that McLaren’s damages range between $20 million and $30 million; damages they will seek to recover from Palou, according to the source, despite the fact that court documents have not yet been made public.

Additionally, the McLaren Formula 1 team invested in Palou’s nearly year-long program as its test and reserve driver, which included at least three private test sessions and his F1 practice debut at the U.S. Grand Prix last October.

These expenses include a 2024 salary advance McLaren said it made to Palou ahead of the team planning to welcome the Spaniard to its 2024 IndyCar lineup alongside Pato O’Ward and Alexander Rossi.

The two lawsuits mark Palou’s second legal run-in in less than a year. The last lawsuit date back to late July 2022, when his current IndyCar boss Chip Ganassi sued the 26-year-old for, among other things, contract breach for what the team believed was going against the terms of his active IndyCar deal with CGR.

At the time, the team believed he was not yet permitted to negotiate for a future deal outside his current team.

In just one day in mid-July of last year, CGR revealed it had exercised the option on Palou’s contract, securing him a ride with the No. 10 Honda team till 2023.

A few hours later, Palou tweeted that he was unaware of the news, that the team had used his comments in a press release, despite his refusal to do so, and that he would not be competing for CGR in 2023 “for personal reasons.”

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Moments afterwards, McLaren declared that they had signed a contract with Palou for 2023; however, it was unclear at the time if the agreement was for F1, IndyCar, or a mix of both racing series. After several arbitration hearings, Palou and CGR came to an arrangement to continue their IndyCar partnership through the year 2023.

The driver was also given permission to participate in a McLaren F1 testing program, provided that it did not clash with his IndyCar obligations. Although it’s conceivable the restriction was lifted during the negotiation process, IndyStar stated that Palou’s pact at the time prohibited him from negotiating on a future term for 2024 and beyond until September 1 of this year.

In any case, McLaren recently made it public that the driver had previously signed a contract that would have placed him into its IndyCar program for the next season. This was regardless of how things ultimately turned out or what Palou was or wasn’t permitted to do in accordance with the conditions of his CGR pact set to expire at the conclusion of this season.

Days before the Gallagher Grand Prix on August 12, he reportedly informed McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown and other team executives that he no longer intended to uphold the contract. Days later, McLaren responded by filing a lawsuit. However, unlike Ganassi, they don’t seem to have any plans to enforce Palou’s side of the contract, which they both consider to be legally enforceable.

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