Alex Palou insists he hardly thinks about Formula 1 “at all” despite signing up to become McLaren’s reserve driver in 2023.
Indeed, the 25-year-old Spaniard says his full focus remains on Indycar, where earlier this year he found himself in a tug-of-war as McLaren’s team in the US-based series tried to extract him from his Chip Ganassi deal.
“Everything is fine now, everything is great. As if nothing happened,” Palou is quoted by Spain’s El Mundo Deportivo.
Early in December, McLaren said Palou will pair his full-time Indycar role “to become a McLaren F1 reserve driver” next year.
He will be Indycar’s reigning champion in 2023 and admits he is not ruling out a more significant future in Formula 1 in the years to come.
“It is true that as a driver you always have that feeling of wanting to at least try an F1 car, and I have already got rid of that,” said Palou.
“Next year I will be a reserve driver at the races that do not coincide with Indycar, so I think I have got the best of both worlds. I will be learning and trying to win another championship.
“But do I think a lot about Formula 1? Not at all,” he admitted.
“Obviously I am aware that Formula 1 is the pinnacle of motorsport, and that is why I have taken the opportunity to join a team even if it is as a test driver.
“But at the same time, my job at the end of the day is to win races. If I hadn’t won Indycar, they wouldn’t have given me a chance in Formula 1.
“So I think the mentality that I have to have is the same – keep trying to win all the races.
“I am happy to have tried Formula 1 for more than one day and to have learned so much, and I am going to learn even more in 2023, but I’m not thinking about whether they give me an opportunity.
“As my father says, I am in an amusement park every day. If there is a bigger one, that’s fine and if I am given a ticket I am not going to say no.
“But no, I don’t think about it and I think my amusement park is already pretty nice,” Palou smiled.
“I’m not saying it’s not interesting because otherwise I would not have agreed to go as a test driver or third driver. But I’m not focused on that.”