McLaren pulls Kanaan, sponsors from Ganassi for Indy 500

The tit-for-tat battle between Zak Brown and Chip Ganassi came on Tuesday when Arrow McLaren SP announced it had signed both Ganassi and Chip sponsors. Tony Kanaan to drive the Indianapolis 500.

Kanaan has spent four seasons driving for Chip Ganassi Racing and the most recent two Indianapolis 500s. The 2003 winner placed third this past May at Indy.

Kanaan will be sponsored by NTT DATA for his 22nd Indy 500, and the technology and business solutions provider will also be the main sponsor of the event. Felix Rosenqvist for 10 races on Chevrolet No. 6.

NTT Data has been a sponsor of Ganassi since 2013 and the main sponsor of the 2020 champion Alex Palouwho spent most of the IndyCar season in battle to switch from Ganassi to McLaren in 2023.

Mediation led to a decision where Palou would end the remaining year of his Ganassi contract and possibly test for McLaren’s Formula One team. But Palou’s sponsor is coming to McLaren soon; Palou cannot drive an Indy car for McLaren before officially moving in in 2024.

Bob Pryor, CEO of NTT Data Services, said: “We welcome the opportunity to partner with McLaren, a longtime and valued customer, and demonstrate how to fund while also building awareness. and strengthen business-to-business relationships.

Brown and Ganassi have been feuding for years but it reached new heights when Palou in July protested Ganassi’s announcement that his contract option for 2023 had been selected. He said he would instead move to McLaren, which led to several civil court filings and eventual resolution for Palou to fulfill his Ganassi contract.

Additionally, McLaren team president Taylor Kiel has left the organization and is expected to be announced as Ganassi chief executive shortly after his non-compete clause expires. Kiel is the stepchild of longtime Ganassi chief executive Mike Hull.

Kanaan, who has spent four of the last six years of IndyCar racing full-time with Ganassi, is slowly moving towards retirement. His third place at Indy in May leaves the Brazilian eager to return in 2023 at the age of 48.

Kanaan, who will be joining McLaren’s first four-car team of Indy 500 cars alongside Rosenqvist, said: “I feel incredibly fortunate to be participating in another shooting race in the Indy 500.” Pato O’Ward and 2015 winner Alexander Rossi.

“I’m delighted to be working with Pato, Felix and Alexander and racing with the Arrow McLaren SP team. My biggest battle in racing last year was against these three drivers, so working with them and driving along they will be very interesting to all of us,” said Kanaan.

Rosenqvist started her IndyCar career with Ganassi and won 10th place sponsored by NTT Data for two seasons. Rosenqvist moves to McLaren ahead of the 2021 season, the first year of NTT Data’s last Ganassi contact extension, and Palou has replaced Rosenqvist as driver at number 10.

“I look forward to representing NTT DATA again,” said Rosenqvist. “They are a great partner and committed to the series.”


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