Alex Palou has been appointed as Reserve Driver at McLaren for 2023 F1 season.
Palou will combine his new role with his racing duties for Chip Ganassi Racing in IndyCar next season, after impressing in his FP1 debut at 2022 US Grand Prix.
McLaren have confirmed that Palou will be available for the team at races which don’t clash with his IndyCar commitments, meaning that the Spaniard will be unavailable for up to nine F1 rounds between April – September 2023.
Speaking about his latest opportunity to move closer towards a future F1 seat, Palou revealed that he is “excited” to become one of McLaren’s reserve drivers next season, having previously driven their MCL35M plus MCL36.
Reflecting on the experience of having driven McLaren’s latest F1 cars and the chance to get involved with next season’s car, Palou commented: “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.”
Palou is also hoping to benefit personally from his new role as he added: “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.”
McLaren F1 Team Principal, Andreas Seidl meanwhile is “pleased” to add Palou to McLaren’s roster of reserve drivers for next season, which is scheduled to have 24 rounds although the Chinese Grand Prix is rumoured to be at risk of cancellation due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Explaining the decision behind bringing Palou into the team as a Reserve Driver, Seidl added: “He impressed with his FP1 session in Austin and his Driver Development tests this year.
“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.”