McLaren CEO Zak Brown has praised the talents of Alex Palou amid rumours linking the Spaniard with a switch to Formula 1.

Palou currently races for Chip Ganassi Racing in the NTT IndyCar Series, but is also part of McLaren’s driver development programme.

The 26-year-old is one of McLaren’s F1 reserve drivers for the 2023 season and debuted for the team during free practice at the US Grand Prix last year.

Palou currently holds a sizable lead in the IndyCar Drivers’ Championship, sitting over 100 points ahead of Scott Dixon.

He has taken four race wins this year, including the previous three and is on course for his second IndyCar title after winning the series in 2021.

“Alex has been very impressive in IndyCar,” Brown said. “The competition there is fierce, so for him to win as many races as he has, in the fashion in which he’s done it, is very impressive. 

“He’s our reserve driver and will be joining us at the end of the year for the remaining Formula 1 races, so he’s definitely a strong, strong talent.”

Palou was subject to a contractual dispute last year between Chip Ganassi Racing and McLaren, with the latter announcing that it had signed him hours after CGR had done so.

An agreement was reached between CGR and Palou that saw him continue with the team for 2023, however he is being heavily linked with a switch to McLaren’s IndyCar programme next year.

But there are also rumours swirling that Palou could land himself a seat in Formula 1 for the 2024 campaign.

Various reports suggest that Dr Helmut Marko and Red Bull has been eying the Spaniard.

Nyck de Vries’ future at AlphaTauri has been called into question following a challenging start to his rookie F1 campaign.

Should de Vries be ousted from the team, it has been reported that Palou could be a candidate for the vacancy.

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