Chip Ganassi Racing released a statement on Saturday, commenting on the contract situation surrounding its star driver Alex Palou.
On Friday, Zak Brown sent a message to his Arrow McLaren team detailing that he was notified that Palou no longer has any intention of driving for the team in 2024.
The message contained language about how the 2021 IndyCar champion was under contract with the papaya squad, and that he had even been paid an advance on his services for next season.
With Palou currently driving for Ganassi and on track to win his second title with the team, a lot of attention immediately turned to CGR to see what involvement it had in the latest developments.
Chip Ganassi rarely comments on driver contract situations, but the team owner felt that he needed to clear his team from wrongdoing in the recent revelations. He also used the opportunity to show his dislike for how Arrow McLaren is being managed under Zak Brown’s leadership.
“Anyone that knows me knows that I don’t make a habit of commenting about contract situations,” said Ganassi in the statement. “Subsequently, I have been quiet since day one of this story but now I feel I must respond.
“I grew up respecting the McLaren Team and their success. The new management does not get my same respect.
“Alex Palou has been a part of our team and under contract since the 2021 season. It is the interference of that contract from McLaren that began this process and ironically, they are now playing the victim.
“Simply stated, the position of McLaren IndyCar regarding our driver is inaccurate and wrong; he remains under contract with CGR.”
Ganassi and Brown have been feuding ever since the latter has grown his IndyCar presence. This is the first time, however, that such direct statements have been issued about the way his team is being run.
Palou himself has yet to comment on the situation, and has purposely been refusing to answer questions about his future after he was embroiled in a related contract dispute last season.
That dispute was very public, and involved CGR and McLaren just as this latest one does. That eventually went to court and had to be resolved in arbitration.
His management team, Monaco Increase Management, released their own statement saying they are ‘bitterly disappointed’ in the recent news and implied they are no longer working with Palou.
Palou will drive the #10 car for CGR this afternoon in the Gallagher Grand Prix at IMS, and likely to win a second championship with the team in the remaining three races of the season.