That is according to a letter sent by McLaren CEO Zak Brown to his staff, reported by AP.

Palau had previously told Brown that did intend to stay, and had even received a pay-rise as a result.

“We have paid him a significant first payment toward his 2024 season in addition to the millions of dollars toward developing him in our Formula 1 testing program and in his reserve driver role with a potential drive in F1 in the future,” Brown wrote.

“This is incredibly disappointing considering the commitment he has made to us both directly and publicly and our significant investment in him based on that commitment.

Even Palou’s own management firm, who negotiated his last McLaren contract, admitted their frustration: “Monaco Increase Management is bitterly disappointed to learn about Alex Palou’s decision to break an existing agreement with McLaren for 2024 and beyond.

“Together, we had built a relationship that we thought went beyond any contractual obligation and culminated in winning the 2021 IndyCar crown and tracing a path to F1 opportunities. Life goes on and we wish Alex all the best for his future achievements.”

Will Alex Palou go to F1?

His management firm have already been trying to find a F1 seat for 2024.

Palau claimed in the past week that he had nothing lined up yet.

His contract included a clause that would release him should he find an F1 seat by July 1.

He was expected to be McLaren F1’s test driver from September, when the INDYCAR season ends.

Palou is on course to win the 2023 INDYCAR title, sitting 84 points clear of Josef Newgarden.

Last year, Palou’s conduct caused a stir as well.

Chip Ganassi Racing held a contractual clause to obtain him but the driver publicly dismissed them.

He instead left for McLaren who joined in a social media saga with a shock post to announce his arrival.

A year later, he is set to depart.

Updated Statement from Chip Ganassi:

With rumors swirling around the Palou situation, team boss Chip Ganassi issued a statement regarding the comments made by the McLaren management team.

"Anyone that knows me knows that I don't make a habit of commenting about contract situations. Subsequently, I have been quiet since day one of this story but now I feel I must respond. 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."



The main takeaway from Ganassi's statement is that McLaren has been bending the rules in terms of legalities around Palou's contract status. Palou was still not within the window to sign with any other team, including McLaren. The fact that Zak Brown stated that his team had already made financial payments in advance of Palou's expected move to the team back up those arguments from Ganassi.

They call it Silly Season for a reason, and given the track record for all parties involved here, this might not be over anytime soon. Three races remain on the calendar for the 2023 season, with free agency in a holding pattern until this gets resolved. The soon-to-be two-time IndyCar champion takes a 101 cushion into the next race at Gateway.