The Spanish driver Alex Palou, crowned IndyCar Champion 2021 because crowned at Long Beach on September 26, which is currently in Europe, was in this weekend of passage in the Principality and he naturally took the opportunity to visit the ACM (Automobile Club de Monaco) organizer, among others, of the very prestigious Monaco Automobile Grand Prix
Present in the Principality for a few days, the Chip Ganassi Racing driver took a few minutes to confide in 2021 which saw him be crowned THE IndyCar Champion.
A title won with his five victories and five other podiums, giving him a total of 549 points… such is the result of a superb Indycar campaign for Alex Palou, the young Spaniard – he was born on the 1ster April 1997 – who like many European pilots, went into exile across the Atlantic to pursue at the highest level, a nascent career that was stalling in Europe
Well he took it because after a first season in 2020 in the modest Dale Coyne team – that of Romain Grosjean this year – which nevertheless allows young pilots to reveal themselves, as evidenced by the recruitment of Palou at the start of 2021, by the very famous team of Chip Ganassi and this winter of Grosjean pzar that no less prestigious Andretti, from his second campaign in Indycar Alex Palou managed to win a first title in IndyCar.
However, by joining Chip Ganassi Racing, his task seemed far from easy as Palou found himself with two new renowned teammates, including the former F1 driver, the Swedish Marcus Ericsson, or above all six-time IndyCar Champion, the always so powerful – despite his 41 years he who was born on July 22, 1980 – New Zealander Scott Dixon!
« It’s really amazing to be part of a great team like Ganassi »
“We have the opportunity to take advantage of great facilities and also to have good teammates, with more information at our disposal and more people pushing us to achieve good results. «
Suddenly, feeling at ease within one of the most professional structures of the Indy Series, the native of Barcelona, author of fantastic races and an exceptional season, became the 14th Champion under the colors. of Chip Ganassi!
« The Team played a big role in the quest for the title »
Just like the experience he has generated since his arrival in the discipline at the end of 2019.
And, he specifies:
“We were still learning all the time since it was my second year in IndyCar, so I discovered new circuits with new tracks. We have competed in 16 events this season and I barely knew half of these tracks, 8 or 9. It was therefore a very good year of learning, we have been strong and very consistent throughout the season. «
A season that he started on top of the wheels, winning already, from the first race, in Alabama.
“This first of my five successes set the tone for the rest of the Championship and I built my coronation on my excellent results over the races. “We knew at the start of the year that we could fight for the title. There with maybe a dozen other drivers who could have won the Championship, but we were aware that we had the car and the Team to join in the battle ”.
Alex Palou also admits that the other teams have surely underestimated him:
“We knew that the other Teams and the majority of the drivers weren’t really watching me because I was coming from Europe and that I had driven in Japan. They hadn’t noticed me but it was a good thing! There wasn’t too much pressure, eyes weren’t necessarily on me and I could completely focus on the race and get some good results. «
And he confides, smiling:
“Next year they’ll be looking at me more and certainly maybe have a regular eye on me. «
So if he can be satisfied with this second successful year in Indycar, with his five victories and the title only in his second campaign, he admits despite everything, to keep a little regret this season …
That of having lost the Indy 500, the very popular and prestigious 500 miles in Indianapolis, which he thought to win but where unfortunately for him, he finally lost to the Brazilian Hélio Castroneves, who stole the victory from him, winning by winning for the fourth time on the oval ring of Indiana, victorious of these mythical 500 miles!
His second place on the podium, however, remains a small feat for him, Alex but Alex Palou indicates:
“I think it’s the only race you’re really mad at if you finish second. In the other races there may be some disappointment but you are still happy to be on the podium. Winning the Indy 500 would have been amazing. «
Despite everything, one thing is certain, the name of Alex Palou will remain engraved because he became the first Spaniard to win the very select IndyCar Championship.
“It’s really special. Obviously, the important thing was to be the champion, but if you can be the first in history, it will be on the books forever. «
Now it’s time for him to relax with his return to Europe. Because its 2022 season, will not begin as tradition dictates at the end of February, in Florida, in St-Petersburg.
And, Alex Palou, concludes:
“Before my title, I thought I wanted more than all the other drivers, but now that I have experienced this feeling of being a champion and how good it feels, I have the desire and the wish to relive it. »
Photos: INDYCAR – ACM – SUPER GT