2021 Indycar champion Alex Palou says he won’t make a bid to enter Formula 1 full-time by initially accepting a seat as a reserve driver.
The 25-year-old Spaniard may have made his official F1 debut with a Friday practice drive for McLaren in Austin, but he says he isn’t tempted to sign up full-time for 2023.
“I like to win, in Indycar I can win and I can’t complain about that,” Palou told AS newspaper.
“It is true that F1 is at another level and if the opportunity comes, you have to take it. We saw it with (Nyck) de Vries, who wasn’t there and now suddenly he is.
“But I’ll never really quit my job for a chance to be here every weekend and be a reserve. One hundred percent not. But it would be hard to say no to a (race) seat.”
Palou’s ‘no’ to a reserve seat is despite the fact that he was particularly impressed with the performance of the 2022 McLaren in Austin.
“I’d like to say it’s similar to Indycar because I want to put what I do at as high a level as possible, but I think they are very far apart in performance,” he said.
“We know that. Our chassis is ten years old and the annual budget is the equivalent of a single grand prix. But it’s very, very different – not half the acceleration of F1, not half the grip, not 2 percent of the technology that F1 has.”
Nonetheless, Palou says he drew a line underneath his F1 aspirations “many years ago”.
“It’s not as though F1 has come back to my mind now,” he explained. “But if you get the opportunity to be part of an F1 team even if it’s just for practice, you have to take it for everything you can learn.”
After a contract dispute between McLaren and Indycar rival Chip Ganassi, it was announced that Palou will in fact stay with the latter team in 2023.