Alex Palou and Chip Ganassi Racing worked out a deal that will keep the Spaniard in the car of the No. 10 Dallara-Honda for the 2023 NTT INDYCAR Series season. That’s good and well. However, is this just a one-year deal left or can the two sides work something out for 2024 and beyond.
That part wasn’t addressed.
We know that Felix Rosenqvist is also back on in his seat in the No. 7 Dallara-Chevrolet while both Alexander Rossi and Pato O’Ward are on multi-year deals as his teammates. Rosenqvist initially agreed upon a multi-year deal back in June. However, I wonder how concrete that deal totally was with him having an option to look around the paddock at other offers once the calendar struck October 1.
Is he still operating on a multi-year deal or is this one of those contracts with “options” for 2024 and beyond?
That too wasn’t unveiled.
Which leads me to wonder if Palou and Ganassi is just a one-year hurrah until the Spaniard leaves. I mean if you connect the dots, the only reason Palou is back with Ganassi in 2023 is because the Formula One side of McLaren is complete for years to come. Also, Ganassi has the upper hand in the court case and if they delayed enough, this dealing wasn’t going to be done before the end of this month.
Zak Brown likely didn’t want to look up at the end of this and lose Rosenqvist to another team as well as missing out on the Palou sweepstakes. Plus, if Ganassi found another driver for the 10 seat, Palou was going to be on the sidelines next season.
It made sense for both parties to come back together for 2023. Palou with Ganassi and Rosenqvist with AMSP. What about 2024?
Ganassi clearly sees value in Palou which is why he kept him and fought for him this hard. But does he trust him? That’s the new layer to this.
Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice…
Which is why I got to think that the two sides have to come to some sort of a long-term agreement this offseason. You absolutely can’t go into 2023 like you did in 2022. Ganassi has got to get Palou what he wants and if Palou balks, then that tells you everything you need to know.
I mean Palou has the capability to being the next great star in this series. I look at it this way about his 3rd year in the sport, while the results slipped for Palou once the discussions in May starting taking place, it’s not like he was all that far off.
Palou had 9 top 10 finishes in the final 12 races under this dark cloud. He even admitted that he and Ganassi spoke at Portland about maybe just staying put and dropping this case.
With the weight starting to subside, Palou went out and won the season finale by a half of a minute over the field. He spanked the 25 other drivers by 30+ seconds.
He did so with limited access. I mean Ganassi had to cut off him, right? Why keep a disgruntled driver leaving at seasons end with access to secret data. He still performed. The reason he had top 10’s and not top 5’s and podiums were down to just that.
When he had data, he had 3 podiums in the first 4 races. He won the season finale.
Get the deal done this offseason and let those results when he’s fully focused in show. If not, then you’re right back in this boat next year with a driver you can’t trust because let’s be honest, I wouldn’t trust him either if I was Ganassi.
For Palou’s case, if you want to make this work, mend fences and not be the villain, go out of your way to make it right with Ganassi. It’s not like AMSP’s ride right now is better than the one he’s in.
While we don’t know what the F1 market will look like for 2024, I don’t know if it’s enough for Palou to go over and get a seat. The only other seat here that could come up is with Andretti but is that really an upgrade over his seat at Ganassi?