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Silly Season in full swing at IndyCar too, F1 team McLaren involved

Silly Season in full swing at IndyCar too, F1 team McLaren involved

14 August - 20:30
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GPblog.com

We are in the summer break and now the famous Silly Season is underway in Formula 1. On the other side of the ocean, IndyCar also has its 'own' Silly Season. There, too, unexpected bizarre twists have taken place, in which Formula 1 has also become involved. Or is it the other way around? In this article, GPblog takes stock of all the situations that are going on.

Palou

A seemingly routine press release from Chip Ganassi Racing on July 12 reported the contract extension of Alex Palou for the 2023 IndyCar season. But while the team indicated it was exercising the option in the contract, it was Palou who reported on Twitter that he would be leaving to join McLaren Racing. Palou added that the quote attributed to him in the announcement was not from him. A court case is still pending.

The McLaren team, meanwhile, couldn't wait any longer with a response and sent out a tweet confirming that it had signed Palou.

Vettel/Alonso

Meanwhile in Formula 1, it was Fernando Alonso who brought the Silly Season to a head. The two-time Formula One champion announced after the Hungarian Grand Prix that he would be leaving Alpine to drive for Aston Martin in 2023, replacing Sebastian Vettel who had previously announced his retirement after this season.

Unlike Chip Ganassi Racing and its relationship with Alex Palou, Alpine had no contract option to fall back on and keep Alonso. That led the team to announce a day later that it was promoting reserve driver Oscar Piastri to replace Alonso. To everyone's amazement, Piastri then announced, as did Palou, that this was not the case. According to various sources, the young Australian has had talks with McLaren and has accepted an offer.

McLaren

By adding Piastri and (potentially) Palou to McLaren, some shuffling will have to take place at McLaren, and the first unfortunate loser seems to be Daniel Ricciardo. McLaren would like to start talks with Ricciardo to buy him out.

McLaren is only a long way from being ready for this. Colton Herta tested in Portugal in July and possibly another free practice session will follow. It is unlikely that the Papaya team will make an offer that would see him leave IndyCar before 2024, but anything can happen at this point.

Herta, Rosenqvist, O'Ward


McLaren still has some seats to fill in IndyCar. Keeping Colton Herta on the list makes sense. The same goes for Pato O'Ward, who was able to complete a Young Drivers Test last December and could wait out his options to make a switch to F1 with another year in IndyCar.

One driver who has a lot to lose through no fault of his own is Felix Rosenqvist, another driver from the McLaren stable of drivers. The team announced two months ago that Rosenqvist would either stay in IndyCar or move to the new Formula E team. Now the situation of Alex Palou leaves him in limbo. Rosenqvist himself would like to stay in IndyCar, where he has shown fine seasons in recent years.

Conclusion: Just as Palou may be tied to Chip Ganassi Racing via a team option in the contract, McLaren owns the rights to Rosenqvist for 2023. If McLaren wins the Palou case in court, Rosenqvist could be fired after all valuable IndyCar seats are filled.

All individual cases will undoubtedly be pursued....

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