IndyCar star Alex Palou describes experience ‘perfect’ in McLaren MCL35M test as he reveals F1 aspirations

Spanish racing driver Alex Palou described his first Formula 1 car experience as “perfect” as he revealed his aspirations to make the jump from IndyCar to F1 after testing with McLaren.

Palo – along with fellow IndyCar racer Pato O’Ward – got behind the wheel of a 2021-spec MCL35M last week, in a closed test at Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit as part of Team Papaya’s ex-car testing program – after IndyCar racer Colton Herta test in Portimão with Team McLaren in July.

After the test, speaking to, Baloo revealed the main differences he found driving Formula 1 cars compared to his previous experiences in other motorsport classes, before explaining what made the experience so enjoyable.

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“It’s so different from all the other cars a driver could drive before Formula 1 that when you get out of the car, the first things that come to your mind are acceleration, braking … the basic things, because it’s a massive change,” Ballou said.

“It’s unbelievable. First, I spent an hour just to check that everything was going well in the car, check the seat and give myself some time to get comfortable with the speed. When I jumped out of the car, I couldn’t stop telling my wife Esther and Dad that it wasn’t It made no sense, not the opportunity itself, which wasn’t, but the car’s behavior and how different I was.”

Palou tested F1 machines for the first time driving a McLaren MCL35 at Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona
He continued, “It’s a never-ending acceleration, it just seems to keep going. Then when you do more laps, you get used to it and see where it ends… Then there’s the braking, the cornering… It’s so perfect.”

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When asked if he was 100% out of the car, Balu said, “100%, no. It’s hard to get the most out of a car with just 500km. You can do it, but there are some risks involved. It wasn’t that we We were running the opposite of time, it was even more advanced.

“At the end of the day, I’m a race driver, and it’s a racing team, so the most important thing is to go fast, that’s for sure, but I don’t think it’s possible to jump from IndyCar to Formula 1 and get 100% of the car in just one day.” .


Having completed his aspirations to win the Indycar Championship in 2021, Ballou said he has other goals on his list now.
Palou – the 2021 IndyCar champion – has also opened up about his ambitions to one day become a full-time Formula 1 driver.

Watch: Colton Hertha McLaren’s first experience at Portimao

“When you win IndyCar, which is the biggest goal I’ve ever set myself, the doors open a little bit more and you unlock your goals as well,” Ballou said. “I think we proved in the States that we can be really fast on the ovals, in the Indy 500 we won the championship…why not try Formula 1?

“Doing this test doesn’t mean we will be on the sidelines just in case something happens, but doing a test is better than nothing and I wanted to try Formula 1 at some point in my life. Now I did.”

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