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Alex Palou’s Betrayal of Zak Brown Begins to Make Sense as Lawrence Stroll’s Rumored F1 Pull Comes to Light

Published 08/13/2023, 8:45 AM EDT

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The drama surrounding Alex Palou’s contract unraveling started back in 2022 when the promising driver signed with McLaren, initiating a legal battle with Chip Ganassi Racing. The dust from that tussle had hardly settled, and Palou dropped another bombshell. He opted out of his contract with McLaren, thus ending his speculated move to the Arrow McLaren team for the 2024 season. Zak Brown expressed disappointment over Palou’s decision, highlighting his prior involvement in McLaren’s F1 youth program.

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In a letter to McLaren employees, Brown expressed his regret at Palou’s decision not to honor his contractual commitments. Palou’s departure from McLaren is, however, not an isolated incident. It seems as though the tides of change are sweeping across the racing world, with whispers of Lawrence Stroll‘s F1 pull echoing in the background. Aston Martin, powered by Mercedes, has already announced a seismic shift as it aligns itself with Honda as its engine supplier from 2026. This is not merely a shift in mechanics; it’s a strategic maneuver that aligns with Stroll’s ambitious aspirations.


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According to speculation, Honda might have intervened in Palou’s decision-making process. The Japanese automaker, who’s an engine supplier to Chip Ganassi, is set to supply engines to Aston Martin from 2026. The rumor mills suggest that Lawrence Stroll might have extended an enticing offer to Palou, encouraging him to explore the potential of joining the British team in the future. This speculation gains more traction when considering Palou’s current team is powered by Honda.

When the Aston Martin project was initially presented, Honda expressed interest in having a say in the drivers’ lineup. This could imply that Honda has a vested interest in shaping the team’s composition, possibly including Palou in their plans.

If this hypothesis holds true, it would shed light on Palou’s abrupt departure from McLaren. The allure of potentially joining Aston Martin, a team poised to undergo a significant transformation with Honda engines from 2026, might have been too enticing for Palou to resist, leaving McLaren disappointed. While McLaren fired the first shot, Chip Ganassi wasn’t silent either.

Chip Ganassi accuses McLaren of playing the victim in the Alex Palou situation


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Zak Brown fired the first shot by releasing a letter on Friday, revealing that Palou had no intentions of honoring a contract with McLaren for the 2024 season. Brown expressed his disappointment, highlighting the perks Palou received as part of the deal, including advance payment and involvement with McLaren’s F1 operations. He accused Palou of breaking an existing agreement and leaving the team “bitterly disappointed.”

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However, Chip Ganassi didn’t take these claims lying down. In a pointed response, Ganassi said, “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.”


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But could it be that Aston Martin and Honda played a role in this?

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Vidhita is an F1 writer at EssentiallySports. Driven by her deep passion for motorsports and a love for the exhilaration of speed. Since 2016, she has been captivated by the world of F1 after watching a race with a relative, and her fascination has only grown stronger over the years.
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Edited by:

Aishwary Gaonkar