Palou: Excited to be a McLaren reserve F1 driver in 2023

alex palou mclaren 2023 f1 reserve

Alex Palou was confirmed as a Formula 1 reserve driver for McLaren Racing on Thursday, bringing to an end a prolonged battle for the IndyCar champion and the F1 team.

The Spaniard, who won the 2021 IndyCar championship for Chip Ganassi Racing said, in July, he was declining to return to Ganassi next year and instead would drive for McLaren.

Ganassi held an option on 2023 for Palou, who wanted to move to McLaren for a shot at motorsports’ highest level. The fight for the driver dragged into September through mediation, where it was decided that Palou would finish his contract and also be allowed to do F1 opportunities with McLaren.

The 25-year-old Palou has since tested for McLaren and he made his F1 debut at the United States Grand Prix in October when he drove the first practice session.

alex palou indycar winner 2021 trophy

In his role as a reserve driver, Palou will support McLaren whenever it does not conflict with his responsibilities in the final year of his IndyCar contract with Ganassi. He will officially move to McLaren at the end of the upcoming IndyCar season and drive either for Arrow McLaren SP in IndyCar or move completely into an F1 role.

“I’m excited to be part of the McLaren team as one of their reserve drivers in 2023,” Palou said. “I can’t wait for the involvement with next year’s car. I look forward to continuing my development as a driver and I appreciate the trust McLaren have in me with this new role next year.”

Palou has four wins and 15 podiums through three IndyCar seasons and is the only Spaniard to win the championship.

“The team are pleased to have Alex on board as one of our reserve drivers for next season,” said Andreas Seidl, McLaren team principal. “He impressed with his FP1 session in Austin and his driver development tests this year.”

IndyCar's Palou left 'super happy' by F1 practice session | AP News

McLaren Statement:

2021 NTT Indycar Series champion Alex Palou will serve as one of the McLaren Formula 1 Team’s reserve drivers for the 2023 season. Palou will provide support for the team alongside his driving duties in Indycar, being available as a reserve driver for the team for all events that do not conflict with his Indycar commitments.

The 25-year-old Spaniard previously took part in a free practice session at the 2022 United States Grand Prix with McLaren as well as piloting the MCL35M in Barcelona and Spielberg as part of the team’s Driver Development testing programme.

Palou has four wins and 15 podiums in Indycar to date and became the first Spanish driver to win the NTT Indycar Series championship when he claimed the 2021 title.

Alex Palou: “I’m excited to be part of the McLaren team as one of their reserve drivers in 2023. I’ve been behind the wheel of both the MCL35M and MCL36 and it has been a great experience, so I can’t wait for the involvement with next year’s car. I look forward to continuing my development as a driver and I appreciate the trust McLaren have in me with this new role next year.”

Andreas Seidl, Team Principal, McLaren F1 Team: “The team are pleased to have Alex on board as one of our reserve drivers for next season. He impressed with his FP1 session in Austin and his driver development tests this year. He has many notable motorsports achievements so far, particularly the 2021 Indycar championship title so it’s brilliant to be able to expand his role in the team and we look forward to working more closely with him.”