TORONTO — Besides trying to win an IndyCar title with Chip Ganassi Racing this season, Alex Palou's future remains unclear.
Palou, the reigning IndyCar Series champion, offered little comment on Friday morning when asked if he would stay with Ganassi or jump to Arrow McLaren SP in 2023 after his contract negotiations turned ugly earlier this week. Palou told media at the Honda Indy Toronto that he's focused on the present and his current team.
"I'm still super happy where I am. We're still committed to trying to win this championship as we've been doing since Day 1," said Palou. "I'm happy. I'm happy with my team, with my crew, with my teammates and with everything.
"So nothing's changed. I'm not after money and not after anything in particular. Just this championship that we have to try and win."
Ganassi announced on Tuesday that it had exercised its team option for Palou to stay for another season. Palou then tweeted that was not true and he would be leaving Ganassi after the 2022 season was complete. Then McLaren announced the Spaniard would be joining one of its teams in 2023.
But on Friday, Palou refused to say who he would be driving for in 2023.
"I understand that this is something you guys are super interested in and I completely understand. I would do the same if I was in your position," said Palou. "But I have nothing else to add to what I said. I'm not going to say more about what I said already.
"We're fighting for a championship together and we're gonna try and do the best we can to try and win."
Palou said that he and team founder Chip Ganassi have spoken since Tuesday but wouldn't say how the conversation went or any other details.
The 25-year-old Palou wouldn't comment on if he had spoken to representatives from McLaren since Tuesday.
Scott Dixon, Ganassi's veteran driver, said that he was disappointed with how ugly and public the dispute had become.
"For sure, there's some awkwardness. I think if you're going to have an example of how not to go about things this is 100 per cent how you would do it.
"It doesn't impact us as a team as far as the goals. We're all here to still win, you know?"
Dixon said that motorsports is a small community and that how people look upon teams and drivers and if they're respected is important. He also noted that in his negotiations with Ganassi over his 20 years with the team had always been straightforward.
"You sit down, have a chat, what everybody's looking at doing," said Dixon. "Even when I've had options I've gone to them and said 'Hey, these are my options. What should we do?'"
Palou was 10th in the first practice of the Honda Indy Toronto on Friday afternoon, finishing his best lap in 1:01.0522. Dixon was eighth in 1:00.9854.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 15, 2022.
John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press