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Brown Criticizes Palou for Missing McLaren F1 Opportunity

Zak Brown, the CEO of McLaren, believes Indycar champion Alex Palou has jeopardized his potential progression to Formula 1. McLaren had intentions of transitioning Palou, the reigning Indycar champion and recent McLaren F1 reserve driver, from Chip Ganassi’s team to McLaren’s Indycar unit.

However, Palou, now 26, is entangled in a lawsuit, potentially facing claims of up to $30 million for not upholding his part of the agreement.

“Alex informed us that he has no intention of fulfilling his contract with us in Indycar or in F1,” Brown stated during an interview with DAZN at the Dutch GP. He elaborated, “We have a contract, so that is now in a legal process. We filed suit in the London courts last week against him – both as a natural person and as his business entity.”

Many are left pondering Palou’s decision, especially since McLaren seemed to pave his pathway to Formula 1. “I have no idea what’s going through his head because I haven’t talked to him,” Brown expressed.

He went on, “We had a very good relationship and he hasn’t communicated with me personally, which is quite disappointing considering everything we’ve done for him and the opportunities we gave him.”

Highlighting the unpredictability of the sport, Brown added, “But things move fast in F1. Drivers can break their wrists at any moment. If you want to do F1, you have to jump through some hoops and see what opportunities present themselves.”

Brown wonders how other F1 teams might perceive Palou’s recent actions. “On a personal level, I think the relationship with our drivers is something that McLaren takes very seriously, and I think we do a good job creating a family atmosphere,” he said, conveying his disappointment in being let down.

However, looking forward, Brown sees silver linings for McLaren’s other potential F1 candidates. “We have several reserve drivers,” he mentioned. “Last year we ran Alex and Pato (Ward), and I’ll work now with Andrea (Stella) on plans for this year,” referencing the obligation for McLaren to feature a rookie driver in some F1 practice sessions. He also discussed the licensing challenges for drivers like Colton Herta and Pato but confirmed Pato’s continued contribution to the team.