Palou missing chance to prove he has F1 mentality – Brown

Alex Palou’s decision to not honor his McLaren contract in 2024 means the IndyCar championship leader is missing his chance to prove if he had “the mental ability” to handle Formula 1, according to Zak Brown.

Legal proceedings have begun against Palou after McLaren stated it has a valid contract with him for next season that would have involved an IndyCar race seat and F1 opportunities, with the Spaniard set to remain with Ganassi. Brown believes Palou still hadn’t proven he could make it in F1 and points to Daniel Ricciardo’s hand injury as proof that a chance could have arisen at any stage.

“Alex is obviously a very talented driver, we had him in our car a handful,” Brown said. “I think whether it’s Alex or any other driver, to be a Formula 1 driver, you have to have the pace, but you also have to have the mental ability, if you like, in Formula 1 – there’s so much you have to do as a driver to be a complete driver.


“I have no idea what’s going through his mind because I’ve not spoken with him. But things move fast in Formula 1. Drivers can break their wrist in an instant so I think if you want to do F1 you need to kind of hang around the hoop and see what opportunities provide.

“Like Nyck (de Vries) wasn’t on anyone’s radar, does one race, got a Formula 1 seat. I don’t know what’s in his mind, but hanging around the hoop, and being in an F1 environment, to me, seems to give you the best opportunity to become a Formula 1 driver in whatever team that might be.”

RACER understands AlphaTauri had been showing interest in Palou, although he was not in the frame to replace Ricciardo as Red Bull chose reserve driver Liam Lawson over de Vries.

One of Brown’s biggest annoyances is the way Palou has handled the contract situation, saying there has been no direct contact on a personal level.

“It’s very disappointing, we had a very good relationship. He hasn’t personally communicated with me about it, which is rather disappointing, given all that we’ve done for him and the opportunities that we have provided. I don’t think his decision has anything to do with McLaren per se, our relationship was very strong, it’s disappointing how it’s been handled on a personal level.

“I think all our relationships with our drivers are something McLaren takes very seriously, I think we do a good job of creating a family environment for our drivers, so to be let down, especially in that manner, is pretty disappointing.”

Story originally appeared on Racer