McLaren IndyCar signs David Malukas in place of Palou

David Malukas joined Arrow Mclaren IndyCar team for 2024.
© Arrow McLaren IndyCar

The Arrow McLaren IndyCar team has announced that David Malukas will join its driver line-up for 2024, taking a seat originally intended for this year's championship winner Alex Palou.

Palou had been expected to join McLaren next season but instead has opted to remain with Chip Ganassi Racing, sparking legal action between the driver and McLaren as a result.

The 26-year-old Spaniard had previously been given time behind the wheel of McLaren's F1 car in Grand Prix free practice and testing appearances, but he felt that there had been a lack of guarantees about any future F1 seat.

The IndyCar team has now turned to Malukas to join Pato O’Ward and former F1 driver Alexander Rossi next season, after it was confirmed that Felix Rosenqvist will move to Meyer Shank Racing in 2024.

“I can’t wait to race in papaya next season," the 21-year-old Chicago-born American-Lithuanian said in a team statement released on Friday. "Arrow McLaren has been a threat to the top contenders all season long.

"I’m excited to join the team and see what their Chevrolets can do," he added. "Pato and Alexander both know what it takes to win, so it will be fun racing alongside them and learning from them as well," he added.

“David is an up and comer in the NTT IndyCar Series," commented McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown. "Based on what we’ve seen from him so far in his first two seasons, I’m confident there’s a lot of talent we can extract from him.

"Beyond what he can do on a racetrack, he’s got a great personality and we’re excited to welcome him to the McLaren Racing family.”

"We’ve been extremely impressed with how quickly David has gotten up to speed," added Arrow McLaren racing director Gavin Ward. At 21, he’s already one of the strongest oval racers in the field.

"His competitiveness on road and street courses has been steadily improving," Ward added. "That speed combined with an excellent attitude and work ethic makes us thrilled to have him join the team.”

Palou clinched his second indyCar championship in last week's penultimate race of 2023 at Portland, Oregon, with his team mate Scott Dixon confident of wrapping up second place this weekend.

As for his legal wrangle with McLaren, Palou told that “It’s a mess that, one day, I hope to be able to explain from the inside, step by step and day by day, the options we had and the ones we didn’t have.

"I don’t think another opportunity will come, because I’m getting too old for the F1 world,” he admitted. “We’ll wait, we’ll keep winning as much as we can in IndyCar and if an opportunity comes, we’ll welcome it. But I won’t be waiting too impatiently."

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