Alex Palou named reserve F1 driver for McLaren Racing in 2023 Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023


Alex Palow was appointed reserve driver for McLaren Racing Formula 1. on Thursday, confirming the end of the protracted battle for the IndyCar champion and the F1 team.

The Spaniard, who won the 2021 IndyCar Championship with Chip Ganassi Racing, said last July that he was refusing to return to Ganassi next year and would drive for McLaren instead.

Ganassi had an option for 2023 for Palu, who wanted to move to McLaren to try motorsport at the highest level. The fight for the driver dragged on in September through mediation when it was decided that Palou would end his contract and also be allowed to use F1 opportunities with McLaren.

25-year-old Palow tested McLaren and made his F1 debut at the US Grand Prix in October, driving his first practice session.

As a reserve driver, Palow will support McLaren whenever it doesn’t conflict with his duties in the final year of his IndyCar contract with Ganassi. He will officially move to McLaren at the end of the upcoming IndyCar season and will either drive for the Arrow McLaren SP in IndyCar or move fully into the F1 role.

“I am delighted to be part of the McLaren team as one of the reserve drivers in 2023,” said Palou. “I can’t wait to be in next year’s car. I look forward to continuing my development as a driver and appreciate McLaren’s confidence in my new role next year.”

Palu has four wins and 15 podiums in three IndyCar seasons and is the only Spaniard to win the championship.

“The team is delighted to have Alex as one of the reserve drivers for next season,” said Andreas Seidl, Team Principal at McLaren. “He impressed with his FP1 session in Austin and his driver development tests this year.”

Jamie Chadwick, three-time W Series champion will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make his US Series debut in March, driving for number 28 in Andretti Autosport under the sponsorship of DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female racer in 13 years to compete full-time in the Indy NXT Championship.

Chadwick joined the Women’s Free W Series in her inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She was a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in this role in 2023. She also performed in the Extreme E series.

Despite her success, Chadwick did not have more success in F3 or F2 and her breakthrough did not come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered her a test in an Indy NXT machine.

The last three races on this year’s W Series schedule have been canceled due to funding cuts, but Chadwick still believes the women’s series was the right path for her.

“The W Series has always been and will always be an opportunity to race for every female driver, so for my part, I was looking at it, although I might wish I could have raced, maybe earlier, while also being able to have this chance to race, to get this experience, to get this development, time spent sitting… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In this sense, I was not upset at all. But on the other hand, I now have the experience of testing Indy NXT in the United States and that’s something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick is also expected to play a bigger role as a development driver next season with Williams choosing American driver Logan Sargeant to fill his empty spot on the F1 grid next year.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to support Jamie with DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue his development in a new type of racing.

“Over the years we have produced five Indy NXT Champions and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the rebranded name of the Indy Lights series, the last step in the ladder system before IndyCar.

Next season, Andretti will field two drivers that were developed in Indy NXT in IndyCar: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar for AJ Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be an Indy NXT teammate with Hunter McElree and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Katie Munnings, who drives for Andretti United in the Extreme E series.