In a remarkable turn of events on Tuesday, Ganassi announced it had taken up an option on Palou for 2023, only for McLaren to issue their own statement just hours later confirming they had signed the 25-year-old Spaniard to their racing roster. 

Palou, who won the 2021 IndyCar championship, took to social media to reject the Ganassi announcement.  

The CRAZY life of Bernie Ecclestone | Crash.Net F1 2022

“I have recently learned from the media that this afternoon, without my approval, Chip Ganassi Racing issued a press release announcing that I would be driving with CGR in 2023,” wrote Palou. 

“Even more surprising was that CGR’s release included a  'quote'  which did not come from me.

“I did not approve that press release, and I did not author or approve that quote.  As I have recently informed CGR, for personal reasons, I do not intend to continue with the team after 2022.

“This evening’s unfortunate events aside, I have great respect for the CGR team, and look forward to finishing this season strongly together.”

This was shortly followed by McLaren’s own statement confirming the signing of Palou. 

“¡Hola Alex! McLaren Racing welcomes #INDYCAR champion @AlexPalou to its driver roster from 2023, as the team continues to build talent across all of its racing series,” McLaren tweeted. 

“Our full driver line-up across all racing series will be confirmed in due course.”

Palou is likely to compete for the Arrow McLaren SP IndyCar team in 2023, though Formula E is also a possibility with McLaren joining the all-electric series next year. 

Another candidate to replace Ricciardo? 

McLaren also confirmed that Palou will test the team’s F1 car, following the programme that has already given fellow IndyCar drivers Pato O’Ward, and most recently, Colton Herta, their F1 test debuts. 

McLaren are said to be exploring their options for 2023 - which are thought to include Sebastian Vettel, Alex Albon, Oscar Piastri - in case Ricciardo decides he does not want to continue in F1. 

The struggling Australian holds a contract for next season but it is understood there are “mechanisms” that could end the deal early. 

Herta, who carried out his first F1 test in McLaren’s 2021 car at Portimao on Monday and Tuesday, admitted it remains his ambition to secure an F1 drive. 

"It's a goal of mine and has been for a while,” said Herta. “There have been instances when I have been close. It [the test] is just to get seat time."

He added: "I do think I’m fast enough. Whether they agree or not, I guess time will tell.”

With Palou also set to get a chance to impress McLaren, he could also emerge as a possible candidate for a future F1 seat with the British outfit.