INDIANAPOLIS — Just when you thought it couldn’t get any weirder, the ever evolving saga between Alex Palou and Chip Ganassi Racing gets more and more wild by the week. On Wednesday morning, documents were leaked that Chip Ganassi Racing has filed an undisclosed lawsuit against their current driver.
The documents in the case of Chip Ganassi Racing LLC vs. Alex Palou Montalbo, ALPA Racing SL was filed on Monday, July 25. That’s the Monday after the Iowa doubleheader and the week leading into the NTT INDYCAR Series race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday.
While suing a driver from your own team isn’t unprecedented, it’s also not something that happens very often either. The real question now becomes, does Palou remain in the seat of his No. 10 Dallara-Honda for the rest of the year?
Ganassi stands firm in their stance that Palou is signed with them through the 2023 season. Their side is that they held the option for the Spaniard for 2023 and are exercising it. However, do they keep him in that ride is the thought process here? They can pay him to sit out since he’s still operating on the deal that he signed with them between the 2020 and 2021 seasons. Ganassi may feel it’s better to pay Palou to sit out rather than compete against them for a championship with one of the top emerging teams in the sport.
I’m not sure what Palou feels or what he’s even doing. He should know his contract but instead reports are that he led McLaren Racing that he was available. Zak Brown is firm in the fact that he said he didn’t necessarily do anything wrong and felt that he was led to believe Palou was free agent at seasons end and was available for the taking for 2023 and beyond.
Did Palou try to force his way out at Ganassi but ignoring their contract?
Brown never got into Palou’s Ganassi contract because he felt like he didn’t need to. Ganassi felt like Palou and McLaren never should have been talking in the first place as that’s a breach of contract.
Hence the suit and why this is spilling over into the courts.
Brown has mentioned that he’s not going to buy Palou’s contract out with Ganassi even if Ganassi truly does hold Palou’s option for 2023. So, this is where this gets messy.
Palou mentioned two weeks ago that he’s been cut off of external communication within the Ganassi camp. He understands that too. So with that being said, it also led to discussions on if Palou would even be in that 10 car for 2023 anyhow. It’s standard practice to cut all data off from a current driver that’s set to leave at seasons end. You don’t want them taking that newly acquired data to their new team.
Then, with the court case now, it makes this even messier with the fact that I can’t see you taking a driver to court, cutting their data off but also keeping them for the final 5 races of 2022 and a full season in 2023 if you have any hopes of that driver and that car legitimately vying for a championship.
It’s a distraction and could keep that car out of being a serious threat on a weekly basis. I mean just look at Palou’s finishes since this saga started back in May. 1 top 5 in 8 races.
That’s not very Palou like.
The timeline sounds like Ganassi found out in May about Palou talking with McLaren. That’s when this all blew up.
I don’t think it gets any better now that this is going to court. Ganassi has drivers like Ryan Hunter-Reay and Sebastien Bourdais on their sports car side who can fill in if needed…