Paddock Buzz: Palou Stays Focused on Title during Squabble – INDYCAR

July 15, 2022 by No Comments

Conceding that the events of the past week have created “a really hot topic,” reigning NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Alex Palou vowed Friday to give his best effort to helping Chip Ganassi Racing win yet another season championship, and the contract situation he is embroiled in – two teams claiming his rights for 2023 — might be a benefit in this weekend’s Honda Indy Toronto at Exhibition Place.

“We’re all professionals,” Palou told reporters Friday, three days after CGR and McLaren Racing each announced he will drive for them in 2023. “We want the same thing (at CGR), which is to win. That’s it, period (and) hopefully it’s going to be that way.

“Personally, myself, I don’t think (the contract situation) is going to affect me at all. I have more questions to answer (and) that will be more difficult than normal, but at the end of the day I am a driver; that’s the only thing that I know how to do. This is not going to affect me at all negatively when it comes to performance, maybe even the opposite because all eyes are on me, and I know as soon as I’m out on track everybody is going to look for that No. 10 (car).”

Driving the No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, Palou posted the 10th-fastest lap in Friday’s 75-minute practice at 1 minute, 1.0522 seconds. Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS/SiriusXM Honda) led all drivers with a lap of 1:00.6090. The top nine drivers turned laps under 1:01.

Palou, a 25-year-old Spaniard, is fourth in the season standings, 35 points out of the series lead. Palou declined to comment on several questions related to where he will drive next season.

“I understand this is something you guys are super interested in – I would do the same if I was in your position,” he said. “But I have nothing else to add to what I said (Tuesday on Twitter). I’m not going to tell more (than) what I said already.

“We’re here, we’re in Toronto, and we’re fighting for a championship together, and we’re going to try to do the best we can to try to win it.”

Palou said he spoke with crew members on his No. 10 car, and he said they understand they all have a job do for Chip Ganassi Racing.

“We both understand each other,” he said.

Palou, who also said he spoke to Ganassi since the drama began, said he does not know how, or when, this situation will be resolved.

“Honestly, I have no idea,” he said. “I mean, (I’ve) never been in this position, so I have no idea. … I’m not going to tell you, ‘Hey, yeah, we’re going to catch a beer and resolve it.’ I have no idea. But hopefully, it’s going to be that way.”

Palou won three races and the series championship in 2021, his first season with CGR. He has not won a race this season, although he has finished second three times, including the July 3 race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The NTT INDYCAR SERIES is racing on the 11-turn, 1.786-mile temporary street circuit in Toronto for the first time in 2019. This will be Palou’s first race of any kind at Exhibition Place.

“Because it’s (a) super short (track), every bit of detail counts, and it’s super bumpy with patches …….



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