Alex Palou has been named as one of McLaren’s reserve drivers in Formula 1 for next season when his IndyCar commitments with Chip Ganassi Racing allow.
The 2021 IndyCar Series champion made his FP1 debut for McLaren at the United States Grand Prix this year and has carried out testing in a year-old car. After a legal battle in the summer ended with him staying at Ganassi for 2023 in IndyCar, RACER understands will join McLaren in the series in 2024, with the team able to involve him in more F1 activities from next year.
McLaren has now confirmed the Spaniard as one of its F1 reserves next season, and Palou says it will help him improve his all-round skills.
“I’m excited to be part of the McLaren team as one of their reserve drivers in 2023,” Palou said. “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.”
McLaren had initially been able to call upon Mercedes reserves Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries as well as Oscar Piastri if required this year, but has now signed Piastri as a 2023 race driver while de Vries will drive for AlphaTauri and Vandoorne moves to Aston Martin as a reserve.
Team principal Andreas Seidl says Palou’s recent results in IndyCar make him a strong replacement option, having shown his skills in F1 machinery this year.
“The team are pleased to have Alex on board as one of our reserve drivers for next season,” Seidl said. “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.”