Reigning NTT IndyCar Series champion Alex Palou has signed with McLaren beginning in 2023, the team confirmed on Tuesday evening.
The 25-year-old Spaniard’s current team, Chip Ganassi Racing, made an earlier announcement that the option on Palou’s contract was picked up for beyond 2022. However, Palou took to social media to deny the CGR news and added he would be leaving his No. 10 Honda entry after this season.
With the reveal Palou will be joining McLaren next season, he will test with its Formula 1 Team in a 2021 MCL35M F1 car alongside Pato O’Ward and Colton Herta.
The press release did not reveal if Palou would be part of its NTT IndyCar Series operation, noting that “McLaren Racing will confirm its full driver line-ups across all of its racing series in due course.”
Arrow McLaren SP are set to be a three-car line-up in 2023, with O’Ward being joined by current Andretti Autosport pilot Alexander Rossi. Felix Rosenqvist, who currently pilots the No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet alongside O’Ward, renewed his contract with McLaren but there was no confirmation if he would remain in the NTT IndyCar Series or depart for the squad’s Formula E endeavor in 2023.
Palou, who is in the midst of his third season in North America’s premier open-wheel championship, said, “I’m extremely excited to join the driver roster for such an iconic team as McLaren. I’m excited to be able to show what I can do behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car and looking at what doors that may open. I want to thank everyone at Chip Ganassi Racing for everything they have done for me.”
Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren Racing, added, “We have always said that we want the best talent at McLaren, and it’s exciting to be able to include Alex on that list. I’m also looking forward to seeing him get behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car as part of our Testing of Previous Cars (TPC) program alongside Pato O’Ward and Colton Herta as we continue to build our driver talent. Alex is an incredibly talented driver who has won in every series he has raced in, and I’m happy to welcome him to the McLaren family.”