IndyCar champion Alex Palu has been named as a reserve driver for the McLaren Formula 1 team for the 2023 world championship.
The 2021 IndyCar Series championship will be the team’s official reserve driver for all grands prix events in 2023, with IndyCar Racing not conflicting with Chip Ganassi.
The 25-year-old has previously tested the 2021-spec McLaren MCL35M in F1’s ‘Experimental Cars Test’ programme, with private tests at Barcelona and the Red Bull Ring. Palu took part in the first practice session at the United States Grand Prix in October, taking Daniel Ricciardo’s place for an hour-long session.
McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl said the team was delighted to confirm Pallow as one of the reserve drivers for next season.
“He was impressed with his FP1 session in Austin and the challenges of the driver’s development this year,” said Seid. He has many notable motorsports achievements to date, most notably the 2021 IndyCar Championship, so it’s great that he can expand his role within the team and we look forward to working with him even more.
Palu said he was delighted to join McLaren as an official reserve driver for the 2023 season, having gained experience in the team’s two F1 cars.
“I’ve been behind the wheel of both the MCL35M and MCL36 and it’s been a great experience, so I can’t wait to be involved in next year’s car,” he said. “I look forward to continuing my development as a driver and appreciate McLaren’s confidence in me in this new role next year.”
Palu won the 2021 IndyCar Championship and finished the 2022 season fifth in the drivers’ standings. At the time, Chip Ganassi Racing and McLaren were embroiled in a contract dispute over which team to compete with for 2023. After legal action by Ganassi, the two teams reached an agreement to keep Palu with Ganassi until 2023.
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