McLaren Racing are actively suing 2023 IndyCar champion Alex Palou for a sum of $23 million to recoup costs that the team have allegedly lost, after the driver pulled out of the contract he signed to join the team.
The lawsuit comes after McLaren stated back in July 2022 that they had signed Palou for an IndyCar seat and reserve driver within their Formula 1 team, while Chip Ganassi Racing had said that they have contractual rights for Palou for the 2023 season.
“If you look at my interviews until 2021, I would say I was not focused on F1 at all, and that was totally true. But things changed when I won the championship,” Palou told the press ahead of the 2023 Music City Grand Prix in Nashville, August 6.
“I was 24. I had just won my first big championship and what if I try something and it goes sideways, then I can come back when I’m 27 and still super young and can still do it for 10 or 15 years.
“The door opened a little bit with McLaren. It was amazing. The opportunity was great, but there was nothing else there of, ‘you will have a car’.
“Maybe if I was 20, I would have waited, but I’m not 20. I’m 26. I don’t know of anyone who waited until 30 that got into Formula 1.”
What expenses are McLaren looking to claim from Palou?
McLaren held a hotel room for Palou during the 2023 Singapore Grand Prix weekend, in hopes of him being there as the reserve driver, however Palou did not attend the weekend for McLaren at all.
The damages accumulate to almost $23 million and come from future sponsorship for McLaren, costs of Palou being a previous reserve driver for the team and general accommodation, how much McLaren spent on training Palou for F1, a $400,000 in advance of his 2024 salary, and money spent on finding a replacement.