IndyCar champion Alex Palou has been named as a reserve driver for the McLaren Formula 1 team for the 2023 world championship.
The 2021 IndyCar Series champion will be the team’s official reserve driver for all grands prix in 2023 that do not clash with his IndyCar races with Chip Ganassi.
The 25-year-old had previously tested a 2021-spec McLaren MCL35M under F1’s ‘testing of previous cars’ programme, running in Barcelona and at the Red Bull Ring in private tests. Palou also participated in the first practice session of the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas in October, taking the place of Daniel Ricciardo for the hour-long session.
McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl says the team were pleased to confirm Palou as one of its reserve drivers for next season.
“He impressed with his FP1 session in Austin and his driver development tests this year,” said Seidl. “He has many notable motorsports achievements so far, particularly the 2021 IndyCar championship title, so it’s brilliant to be able to expand his role in the team and we look forward to working more closely with him.”
Palou said that he was excited to join McLaren as an official reserve driver for the 2023 season having gained experience of the team’s two most recent F1 cars.
“I’ve been behind the wheel of both the MCL35M and MCL36 and it has been a great experience, so I can’t wait for the involvement with next year’s car,” he said. “I look forward to continuing my development as a driver and I appreciate the trust McLaren have in me with this new role next year.”
Palou won the 2021 IndyCar championship and finished the 2022 season fifth in the drivers’ standings. He was embroiled in a contract dispute between Chip Ganassi Racing and McLaren during the season over which team he would race with for 2023. After legal action by Ganassi, the two teams reached an agreement that will see Palou continue with Ganassi for 2023.
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