Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Chip Ganassi Racing sues defending IndyCar champ Alex Palou amid contract dispute

Chip Ganassi Racing has sued Alex Palou, the driver of its No. 10 Honda and the defending IndyCar series champion, amid an ongoing contract dispute concerning Palou’s plans and obligations for the 2023 season. According to the Indianapolis Star, Ganassi attorneys filed to seal the team’s official complaint, but the suit is believed to concern Palou’s plans to leave for McLaren Racing next season despite Ganassi picking up the option on his current contract for 2023.

On July 12, Chip Ganassi Racing had announced that they had picked up Palou’s option, locking the 25-year old from Spain down for another season with the team. But later in the day, Palou released a series of tweets disputing Ganassi’s announcement, claiming that a press release had been issued without his consent and included a statement that neither he nor his management team had approved.

Palou then went on to say that he had previously told Ganassi officials that he did not intend to continue with the team beyond 2022. Shortly afterwards, McLaren Racing announced that it had signed Palou to a multi-year contract beginning in 2023 to race in a series to be determined.

“Alex Palou is under contract with Chip Ganassi Racing through the end of the 2023 season,” Chip Ganassi Racing said in an email to the Star. “He is a valued member of our team, and we will continue to support him in chasing wins, podiums, and IndyCar championships. As the result of a competing racing team improperly attempting to contract with him notwithstanding the clear terms of our contract, we are proceeding to legal process pursuant to the contract.”

The lawsuit comes just days before the next race on the IndyCar schedule at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course. Although Palou has continued to drive for Ganassi, he shared last week at Iowa that the team cut off his access to engineering data shortly after the contract dispute became public.

“I’m just going to let my people work this out,” Palou recently told the Star. “It’s something I don’t really know how to do. It’s messy, and I don’t like that kind of stuff. Instead of trying to understand what’s going on and trying to do everything perfectly, I’m going to try and do everything perfectly on-track and let my people sort it out.”

After racing for car owner Dale Coyne in his rookie year in 2020, Palou joined Chip Ganassi Racing in 2021 and was immediately successful, winning the first three races of his career en route to the IndyCar championship. Palou has not been as successful this season, and currently sits sixth in points as he still seeks his first win of the year.

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