‘I’m happy where I am’ – Palou

Life away from the track has slowed down ever so slightly for Alex Palou. Finding himself in the center of a self-generated storm last week heading into the Toronto NTT IndyCar Series race, the Chip Ganassi Racing driver’s time was in less demand entering this weekend’s Iowa doubleheader.

Walking into the Iowa Speedway media center for an open scrum late Friday morning, the Spaniard went largely unnoticed, standing at the back of the room as other drivers commanded more immediate interest. With no immediate resolution in sight on Palou’s future and which team will have exclusive rights to his services, most of his focus has turned to the seven races left on the calendar.

There were, though, a few questions about the future that Palou was willing to answer earlier in the morning. Standing in the back of a CGR transporter as air conditioning kept the driver of the No. 10 Honda nice and cool, he said that despite the allure of Formula 1, qualifying for a Super License and the possibility of testing with the McLaren Racing F1 team, his desire is to remain in IndyCar.

“I’m happy — we’re having fun and we’re trying to win another IndyCar Series championship, and I’m good where I am,” Palou told RACER. “I’m trying to win as many races and championships as possible. But I don’t know where I’m going to be.”

The quality of advisement from Palou’s managers, Monaco Increase Management, has become a topic of conversation since CGR and McLaren Racing claimed to have the 25-year-old under contract for 2023. Palou says he hasn’t seen or heard the talk and has no plans to make a change.

“I haven’t been on social media too much,” he added. “They they’ve been with me since I basically started in single-seaters, and it’s all good. I also understand that might shift a little bit to them, because now, to be honest, before Toronto, I did nothing more on that aspect. I didn’t talk to anybody else. I just focused on Julian [Robertson], my engineer and my [crew] guys. So that’s up to [MIM] now and up to the big guys [to figure out next steps].”

Palou also refuted the notion that Roger Yasukawa, who was instrumental in bringing him to IndyCar from Japan and provided day-to-day assistance, is no longer part of his management team.

“He’s 100-percent OK,” he said. “The issue is that with Roger, he misses some races as he did last year as well. He’s missed the last three — I guess since Detroit, I think, and he’s not here this weekend. But yeah, he’s still with me. No issues.”

The CGR team has been clear in its assertion that Palou is under contract for 2023. Whether the dispute with McLaren ends up being resolved in court or through private methods is as yet unknown, and from his end, the driver in question has no insights on how or when the matter will reach a conclusion.

“Hopefully it’s as soon as possible and as good as possible, without having to wait too much or without having to have more noise around,” he said. “But I don’t really know if it’s going to be days, months or weeks. Hopefully, it’s weeks.”