Álex Palou

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Álex Palou
Alex Palou at Road America in 2021.png
Palou at Road America in 2021
NationalitySpain Spaniard
BornÁlex Palou Montalbo
(1997-04-01) 1 April 1997 (age 24)
Sant Antoni de Vilamajor, Catalonia, Spain
IndyCar Series career
30 races run over 2 years
Team(s)No. 10 (Chip Ganassi Racing)
Best finish1st (2021)
First race2020 Genesys 300 (Texas)
Last race2021 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach (Long Beach)
First win2021 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama (Birmingham)
Last win2021 Grand Prix of Portland (Portland)
Wins Podiums Poles
3 9 2
Super Formula Championship
Years active2019
TeamsTCS Nakajima Racing
Starts7
Wins1
Podiums1
Poles3
Fastest laps2
Best finish3rd in 2019
Previous series
2019
2019
2018
2017
2017
2017
201516
2014
2014
Super GT
Super Formula
FIA European F3
FIA Formula 2 Championship
World Series Formula V8 3.5
All-Japan F3 Championship
GP3 Series
Euroformula Open Championship
BRDC Formula 4 Championship

Álex Palou Montalbo (pa-LOH;[1] born 1 April 1997) is a Spanish racing driver born in Sant Antoni de Vilamajor, Spain. He drives for Chip Ganassi Racing in the IndyCar Series, where he is the 2021 series champion. He is the first Spanish racing driver to win a National Championship in American open-wheel racing history and also the first Spaniard to win in the GP3 Series.

Racing career[edit]

Karting[edit]

Born in Sant Antoni de Vilamajor, Palou began karting in 2003.[2] His biggest karting achievement was the championship title in the WSK Euro Series in 2012.[3]

Euroformula Open[edit]

Palou made his open-wheel racing debut, competing in the Euroformula Open Championship with Campos Racing in 2014.[4] He bookended the season, winning the opening race at the Nürburgring and the final race at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. He also won a race at the Hungaroring to finish third in the series standings, missing out on the runner-up placing by just one point to Artur Janosz.[5]

GP3 Series[edit]

2015[edit]

In 2015, Palou graduated to the GP3 Series with Campos Racing. During the first half of the season he suffered major reliability issues as well as some driving mistakes due to his lack of experience, but his results improved along the season and he closed the year with a victory at Abu Dhabi.

At the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya of Spain,[6] Palou qualified fourth for the first race, but he slipped the clutch at the start and lost any opportunity to fight for the points. He made another bad start at the second race.

At the Red Bull Ring of Austria,[7] Palou had another bad weekend. Starting from third, he stalled the engine at the start. He later admitted he felt nervous after the mistakes from Barcelona and that that might have contributed to those new errors. He did not finish the second race because of a crash at the first lap.

At the Silverstone Circuit of England,[8] a gear-box sensor failed when Palou was driving fifth. He was forced to retire and subsequently had to start the second race from the last place of the grid. He managed to overtake eleven cars, eight of them in the first lap, to finish 13th.

At the Hungaroring from Hungary,[9] Palou started seventh and moved up to fifth until a car hit him from behind. He suffered a puncture and was forced to pit. Starting from the bottom of the grid for the second race, he wrapped up the weekend with an 18th place.

At the Spa-Francorchamps Circuit from Belgium,[10] Palou scored his first points in GP3 as the season passed its halfway point. Struggling with tyre wear and lack of speed, the Campos Racing driver finished in 7th place in the first race. He led most part of the second race, but eventually fell back to fifth because of the lack of top speed. He later argued that Esteban Ocon was scrapping 0,5 seconds per lap just in the first sector, where the Kemmel Straight was found.

At the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza[11] from Italy, Palou had another difficult weekend because of the lack of top speed. Using the same engine he raced in Belgium, he managed to finish seventh in the first race and subsequently started the second one from the front row. He made "The Great Mistake" (as he wrote in his column) when during the warm-up lap he spun at the main straight and nearly hit the wall. Although his car was not damaged, he fell back to tenth.

At the Sochi Autodrom from Russia,[12] Palou received a new engine that solved the top speed problems he suffered in Belgium and Italy. Because of Carlos Sainz crash during Russian Grand Prix Free Practice 3, the first race of the weekend was moved to Sunday. Palou qualified just a tenth away from Pole Position and scored a provisional season high in the first race when he crossed the line in fourth place. He immediately scored a provisional season high when he crossed the line in fourth place. He was ninth in the second one.

At the Bahrain International Circuit of Bahrain,[13] Palou suffered yet again more reliability issues. He started from fourth, but during the warm-up lap a gas sensor failed and the car kept on accelerating when the driver lifted the throttle. He decided to enter the Pit-Lane and retire. Because of this, he started the second race from the last place. He gained 14 positions, but ended up tenth and outside from the points.

At the Yas Marina Circuit from Abu Dhabi,[14] Palou won his race in GP3 and became the first Spanish driver to ever get a victory in the series. After being eighth in the first race, he held Pole Position for the second one. Worried about tyre wear, he targeted for a podium finish. He held the lead at the start and slowly started to pull away from the field. He crossed the line with a 4.4 second margin to Carlin's Antonio Fuoco.

2016[edit]

Palou continued to race for Campos Racing in his second season in GP3. He scored a second place at the Silverstone sprint race and a fifth place at the Yas Marina sprint race. He ranked 15th in the overall standings.

Japanese Formula 3 & World Series Formula V8 3.5[edit]

2017[edit]

Palou moved to Japan in 2017 to compete in Japanese Formula 3 for Threebond with Drago Corse. He won three races but finished the year third in the championship behind Mitsunori Takaboshi and Sho Tsuboi.

Palou also raced with Teo Martín Motorsport in three rounds of the 2017 World Series Formula V8 3.5 championship, where he won three poles and a race. This partial season earned him 10th in the championship. Palou finished 2017 with Campos Racing in two Formula 2 rounds, where he scored 5 points. Palou led the majority of the Jerez sprint race from reverse grid pole, but ultimately, he could not hang on to the lead with his heavily worn tires and finished 8th. These two rounds finished Palou 21st in the championship.

FIA Formula 3 European Championship[edit]

2018[edit]

In 2018, Palou returned to Europe full-time for a full season with Hitech Bullfrog GP in the 2018 FIA Formula 3 European Championship. He scored 7 podiums and ended the year 7th in the championship.

Super GT, Super Formula and IndyCar test[edit]

2019[edit]

Palou moved back to Japan in 2019 to compete full-time with McLaren Customer Racing Japan in the Super GT GT300 class and TCS Nakajima Racing in Super Formula. In Super GT, Palou was partnered with 2004 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Seiji Ara. As a team, they scored one podium at Autopolis but ultimately finished 15th in the championship. In Super Formula, Palou had far more success. He won at Fuji Speedway from pole position and, after qualifying on pole at the final round at Suzuka, he looked to be the championship favorite. A problem with the ventilation duct early in the race immensely slowed Palou's car down and he finished 19th in the race. This dropped him to 3rd in the championship in the end.

Palou also tested an IndyCar in July 2019 with Dale Coyne Racing at Mid-Ohio.[15]

IndyCar[edit]

2020[edit]

On 19 December 2019, it was announced that Palou would move to the IndyCar Series for a rookie campaign with Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh.[16] His manager in the IndyCar series is former IndyCar driver Roger Yasukawa.[17]

In his first race for the team at the 2020 Genesys 300 at Texas Motor Speedway he was taken out by fellow rookie Rinus VeeKay. He took his first IndyCar podium at Road America.

2021[edit]

Palou was signed by Chip Ganassi Racing to drive the No. 10 Honda for the 2021 IndyCar Series season.[18] On 18 April 2021, Palou earned his maiden IndyCar Series victory in the season-opening race at Barber Motorsports Park. Palou started on pole for the first time in his IndyCar career at the first race of the season at Texas Motor Speedway, although his pole position was earned due to his early season championship point lead after qualifying was canceled for the race due to inclement weather.[19] Palou added another podium for the season at the GMR Grand Prix and then finished second in the 2021 Indianapolis 500 to Hélio Castroneves' record-tying fourth victory. Palou's finish in the 500 vaulted him into the points lead for the championship. For the rest of the season only himself and Pato O'Ward would hold the points lead. Palou then went on a run of podium finishes after the 500, although he briefly lost the points lead to O'Ward in Detroit by a single point. Palou finished third in the second race in Detroit, won at Road America after Josef Newgarden suffered a gearbox failure, and finished third at Mid Ohio to solidify his points lead in the championship over both Scott Dixon and O'Ward. [20] This was despite suffering three engine change related penalties imposed on him by IndyCar. He gave up the points lead to O'Ward after he and Dixon were collected in an accident caused by Rinus VeeKay at Gateway but took it back after taking his first earned pole position and a third victory at Portland. After a second place finish at Laguna Seca, Palou carried a thirty five point advantage over O'Ward heading into the final race of the season at Long Beach, with only himself, O'Ward, and Josef Newgarden still mathematically capable of winning the title. After O'Ward was knocked out in an accident on the first lap of the race Palou drove conservatively and finished in fourth place, winning his first IndyCar championship. He became the third Chip Ganassi Racing driver to win the IndyCar series championship after Dixon and Dario Franchitti and the first Honda driver other than Dixon to win an IndyCar championship in the Dallara DW12 and turbo V6 era of IndyCar racing.[21] Palou also secured his first IndyCar track discipline championship in 2021, winning the Mario Andretti Cup as the season's highest scoring driver on road and street courses. For his Indianapolis Motor Speedway victory lap, he drove a chicken-themed limousine, in honor of his favorite after victory meal of fried chicken.[22]

Racing record[edit]

Career summary[edit]

Season Series Team Races Wins Poles F/Laps Podiums Points Position
2014 Euroformula Open Championship Campos Racing 16 3 3 4 11 242 3rd
Spanish Formula 3 Championship 6 1 1 1 5 105 2nd
Macau Grand Prix Fortec Motorsports 1 0 0 0 0 N/A 16th
BRDC Formula 4 Championship Sean Walkinshaw Racing 3 0 0 0 0 48 23rd
2015 GP3 Series Campos Racing 18 1 0 1 1 51 10th
2016 GP3 Series Campos Racing 18 0 0 0 1 22 15th
2017 Japanese Formula 3 Championship Threebond with Drago Corse 20 3 5 3 10 102 3rd
Macau Grand Prix 1 0 0 0 0 N/A 11th
World Series Formula V8 3.5 Teo Martín Motorsport 6 1 3 1 3 68 10th
FIA Formula 2 Championship Campos Racing 4 0 0 0 0 5 21st
2018 FIA Formula 3 European Championship Hitech Bullfrog GP 30 0 0 2 7 204 7th
Macau Grand Prix B-Max Racing Team 1 0 0 0 0 N/A DNF
2019 Super GT - GT300 McLaren Customer Racing Japan 7 0 1 0 1 20 15th
Super Formula TCS Nakajima Racing 7 1 3 2 1 26 3rd
2020 IndyCar Series Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh 14 0 0 1 1 238 16th
2021 IndyCar Series Chip Ganassi Racing 16 3 2 3 7 549 1st

* Season still in progress.

Complete GP3 Series results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Pos Points
2015 Campos Racing CAT
FEA

12
CAT
SPR

20
RBR
FEA

14
RBR
SPR

Ret
SIL
FEA

Ret
SIL
SPR

13
HUN
FEA

19
HUN
SPR

18
SPA
FEA

7
SPA
SPR

5
MNZ
FEA

7
MNZ
SPR

10
SOC
FEA

4
SOC
SPR

9
BHR
FEA

Ret
BHR
SPR

10
YMC
FEA

8
YMC
SPR

1
10th 51
2016 Campos Racing CAT
FEA

19
CAT
SPR

14
RBR
FEA

16
RBR
SPR

11
SIL
FEA

10
SIL
SPR

2
HUN
FEA

11
HUN
SPR

14
HOC
FEA

16
HOC
SPR

19†
SPA
FEA

13
SPA
SPR

11
MNZ
FEA

11
MNZ
SPR

7
SEP
FEA

14
SEP
SPR

19
YMC
FEA

10
YMC
SPR

5
15th 22

Driver did not finish the race, but was classified as he completed over 90% of the race distance.

Complete World Series Formula V8 3.5 results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Pos Points
2017 Teo Martín Motorsport SIL
1
SIL
2
SPA
1
SPA
2
MNZ
1
MNZ
2
JER
1
JER
2
ALC
1
ALC
2
NÜR
1

11
NÜR
2

1
MEX
1

3
MEX
2

Ret
COA
1

5
COA
2

2
BHR
1
BHR
2
10th 68

Complete FIA Formula 2 Championship results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate points for the fastest lap of top ten finishers)

Year Entrant 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 DC Points
2017 Campos Racing BHR
FEA
BHR
SPR
CAT
FEA
CAT
SPR
MON
FEA
MON
SPR
BAK
FEA
BAK
SPR
RBR
FEA
RBR
SPR
SIL
FEA
SIL
SPR
HUN
FEA
HUN
SPR
SPA
FEA
SPA
SPR
MNZ
FEA
MNZ
SPR
JER
FEA

8
JER
SPR

8
YMC
FEA

12
YMC
SPR

12
21st 5

Complete FIA Formula 3 European Championship results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 DC Points
2018 Hitech Bullfrog GP Mercedes PAU
1

7
PAU
2

2
PAU
3

19
HUN
1

12
HUN
2

3
HUN
3

Ret
NOR
1

11
NOR
2

4
NOR
3

Ret
ZAN
1

10
ZAN
2

4
ZAN
3

6
SPA
1

2
SPA
2

11
SPA
3

9
SIL
1

7
SIL
2

11
SIL
3

7
MIS
1

8
MIS
2

2
MIS
3

6
NÜR
1

Ret
NÜR
2

6
NÜR
3

3
RBR
1

3
RBR
2

Ret
RBR
3

10
HOC
1

4
HOC
2

8
HOC
3

3
7th 204

Complete Super GT results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Team Car Class 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 DC Points
2019 McLaren Customer Racing Japan McLaren 720S GT3 GT300 OKA
19
FUJ
14
SUZ
13
CHA FUJ
Ret
AUT
2
SUG
12
MOT
7
15th 20

Complete Super Formula results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 DC Points
2019 TCS Nakajima Racing SUZ
Ret
AUT
6
SUG
13
FUJ
1
MOT
4
OKA
4
SUZ
19
3rd 26

American open-wheel racing results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

IndyCar Series[edit]

(key)

Year Team Chassis No. Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Rank Points
2020 Dale Coyne Racing w/ Team Goh Dallara DW12 55 Honda TXS
23
IMS
19
ROA
3
ROA
7
IOW
11
IOW
14
INDY
28
GTW
15
GTW
12
MDO
12
MDO
23
IMS
17
IMS
9
STP
13
16th 238
2021 Chip Ganassi Racing 10 ALA
1
STP
17
TXS
4
TXS
7
IMS
3
INDY
2
DET
15
DET
3
ROA
1
MDO
3
NSH
7
IMS
27
GTW
20
POR
1
LAG
2
LBH
4
1st 549

* Season still in progress.

Indianapolis 500[edit]

Year Chassis Engine Start Finish Team
2020 Dallara Honda 7 28 Dale Coyne Racing w/ Team Goh
2021 Dallara Honda 6 2 Chip Ganassi Racing

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Palou and VeeKay excited for IndyCar debut after arriving in the U.S." Motorsports Tribune. 5 June 2020.
  2. ^ "About Alex". alexpalou.com. Alex Palou. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  3. ^ "WSK Euro Series — KF3 2012 standings". driverdb.com. Driver Database. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  4. ^ David, Gruz (22 April 2014). "Palou secures full-time drive with Campos Racing". Paddock Scout. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  5. ^ David, Gruz (2 November 2014). "Palou wins to end Euroformula Open season in style". Paddock Scout. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  6. ^ "La columna de Alex Palou: Banderas y decepciones". LaF1.es. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  7. ^ "La columna de Alex Palou: Toca hacer autocrítica tras Austria". LaF1.es. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  8. ^ "La columna de Alex Palou: La remontada de Silverstone". LaF1.es. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  9. ^ "La columna de Alex Palou: Motivación intacta pese a todo". LaF1.es. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  10. ^ "La columna de Alex Palou: Puntos en Spa, fuerza para Campos Racing". LaF1.es. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  11. ^ "La columna de Alex Palou: Luchar en Monza sin velocidad punta". LaF1.es. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  12. ^ "La columna de Alex Palou: Ahora sí que vamos por el camino correcto". LaF1.es. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  13. ^ "La columna de Alex Palou: Calma ante todos los problemas de 2015". LaF1.es. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  14. ^ "La columna de Alex Palou: Una victoria para todo el mundo". LaF1.es. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  15. ^ "Spain's Palou tests with Coyne". RACER.com. RACER. 31 July 2019.
  16. ^ "Alex Palou joins Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh for 2020 IndyCar Season". Dalecoyneracing.com. Dale Coyne Racing. 19 December 2019.
  17. ^ Channel, GT. "Alex Palou Young Spanish IndyCar Driver Is "Natural Talent"". GT Channel. GT channel. Retrieved 20 September 2021.
  18. ^ Pruett, Marshall (29 October 2020). "Palou joins Ganassi for 2021 and win the first race in Alabama". Racer. Retrieved 29 October 2020.
  19. ^ Barnes, Joe. "Texas IndyCar qualifying cancelled due to weather". Racer.com. Racer Marketing and Media. Retrieved 23 September 2021.
  20. ^ "Palou wins Road America in late stunner". RACER. 20 June 2021. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  21. ^ Ryan, Nate. "IndyCar results and points standings after Long Beach". NBC Sports. NBC Universal. Retrieved 28 September 2021.
  22. ^ Brownell, Bradley. "IndyCar Champion Alex Palou Takes A Unique Car For A Victory Lap". Jalopnik. G/O Media. Retrieved 30 September 2021.

External links[edit]