Ganassi accuses McLaren of 'playing the victim' over Palou

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The row between IndyCar teams Ganassi and McLaren over who gets the services of Alex Palou next season has continued to deepen over the weekend.

McLaren CEO Zak Brown released a letter on Friday stating that the the current championship leader had no intention of honoring a contract with McLaren for 2024.

Brown said Palou had received money in advance as well as time with the F1 operation as part of the deal, and that it was "bitterly disappointed to learn about Alex Palou’s decision to break an existing agreement with McLaren".

But now team owner Chip Ganassi has responded to the claims, saying that Brown was “inaccurate and wrong” about the situation and accusing McLaren's management of “playing the victim” over the dispute.

“Anyone that knows me knows that I don't make a habit of commenting about contract situations," Ganassi said in a statement released by the team on Saturday.

"Subsequently I have been quiet since day one of this story but now I feel I must respond," he continued. “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.”

Palou had been at the centre of a contract dispute last year between the two parties in which Ganassi filed a lawsuit against the driver to stop him moving to McLaren in 2023.

The 2021 IndyCar champion ended up staying at Ganassi for the current season and looks set to clinch his second title this autumn, holding a 101 point advantage in the standings over team mate Scott Dixon with three races remaining.

The resolution also meant that Palou would get time in McLaren's older F1 cars and be their official F1 reserve driver at US races including at last May's Miami GP ahead of an expected move to their IndyCar team in 2024.

Palou drove in FP1 at last year's United States GP at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

His most recent test outing for McLaren F1 was at the Hungaroring in June alongside the team's regular driver Oscar Piastri, having previously taken part in tests at the Red Bull Ring and the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

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