Palou reveals reason behind McLaren shock exit

Palou reveals reason behind McLaren shock exit

Alex Palou insists that the IndyCar Series will continue to be his future and acknowledges that after defecting from McLaren, his chances of ever racing in Formula 1 are now highly unlikely.

Chip Ganassi Racing driver Alex Palou had been testing older cars as a reserve for the McLaren F1 team before he was anticipated to join the Arrow McLaren IndyCar team next year.

This was believed to be a step of his prospective future entry in the McLaren F1 driver roster being evaluated. However, his choice to remain with Ganassi and do a turnaround on his McLaren move at the beginning of August has put an end to his F1 aspirations.

This comes after Palou won his second IndyCar championship with Chip Ganassi Racing at Portland last weekend.

Palou addressed select media, including on Wednesday at Pebble Beach in California. He explained how his attitude towards the sport had changed in recent years given his age and the lack of a firm assurance that he would continue to race in F1.

“There’s no hiding, like, if you look at my interviews until ’21, I was saying that I was not focused on F1 at all,” the IndyCar champion said. “And that was totally true, but things changed when I won the championship just because I was 24.

“I just won my first big championship and it was like, ‘What if I try something?’ It can go sideways, but then I come back [to IndyCar] and I’m 27, and I’m still super young, and I can still do it for like 15 or 10 years.

“So, then it changed. The door opened a little bit with McLaren. It was amazing. I got to test the [F1] cars and also Practice One at COTA last year, which was amazing.

“The opportunity was great, but there was nothing else there saying, ‘Oh, you will have a car’.

“At the same time, if I was 20, maybe I would’ve waited. But I’m not 20, I’m 26. And on that side, I don’t know if there’s been somebody aged 30 getting into F1.”

When asked if he was still considering making the transition to Formula One after winning the championship in Portland on Sunday, Palou responded: “No, I said it many times that it was not my fully focus.

“Then when an opportunity came, I had to go for it, I felt.

“At the same time, I know I’m not 21 or 19. I’m already 26, which is good. I’m not saying I’m old, but I mean, it’s not that I’m super young.

“So, next year I’ll be 27. If an opportunity comes in the future, which is like really, really small chances, I’ll think about it for sure, 100%.

“But I’m happy honestly. As long as I keep on winning championships and races or battling for championships I think I’ll have a great career.”

Palou has been advised by his legal representatives not to address any contractual issues given that McLaren has filed a lawsuit against him in the UK High Court.

When asked if McLaren’s move surprised him, he responded: “No, I was expecting it. I mean, maybe not that way of like doing stuff.

“But yeah, I was expecting it sooner rather than later that there was going to be some movement, for sure.”

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