Alex Palou heads into the upcoming NTT IndyCar Series season as the defending champion, a new father, and with another important milestone. For the first time in his young career, he’ll have a new sponsor in DHL that chose Ganassi and his No. 10 Honda as the car to carry its colors and message.

“It’s true that the sponsors that I had before, they were in the team and I just had an amazing result with the 10 car with The American Legion, and to have a big sponsor like DHL wanting to be be the primary sponsor on the 10 car is special,” Palou told RACER.

“But it’s more special because I know the brand a lot. I see it all around; it’s global, but in Spain, it’s huge. Your mind would be blown with how big DHL is here. Like this morning, I already saw two DHL trucks, and it’s just exciting to see the brand and to know that you will represent them. But now, we need to win with DHL; with those colors.

DHL arrives at Chip Ganassi Racing after spending the entirety of its time in IndyCar with the Andretti Global team. Its 13-year relationship with Andretti concluded in September, and prior to its departure, the shipping and logistics company was actively seeking a new partner team through meetings taken throughout the paddock. Its familiar red and yellow livery will be carried on the No. 10 car, and RACER understands the DHL Pride livery will make a return next season.

Palou is also readying himself to fight for a third IndyCar championship while dealing with the imposing lawsuit from McLaren Racing and its attempts to recoup tens of millions of dollars in alleged losses after the 26-year-old spurned the team and refused to leave Ganassi and drive for the rival Arrow McLaren organization.

Having gone through a similar situation in reverse while attempting to leave Ganassi for McLaren in 2022, Palou says he’s learned from the experience of racing under extreme peripheral duress. In 2022, the lawsuit served as a distraction that derailed his attempts to win back-to-back titles.

Entering 2024, Palou has the look and sound of someone who’s learned to compartmentalize such things. He’s confident in his ability to remain fully focused on the task ahead while dealing with whatever issues might arise away from the race track.

“The off-track things are the big things that already happened, and it’s still ongoing,” Palou said. “And that’s why I cannot say much, but I don’t expect it to take even a small part away from things. I think it will be a lot more like a normal season. And hopefully that will be for the rest of my entire career. I’m extremely motivated. We won the championship in ’21, and then ‘22 was tough, and it’s tough to have such a good year like what we had in ‘23, for example.

“It’s going to be tough to repeat. We went through ‘22 without being able to do what I did in ‘21. So I’ve been working harder than ever so we can repeat next year, and I just like that feeling. I like to be at the race track. I like to win. And especially now, with my new baby, I need to push even harder.”

Palou’s magical season, where he never finished outside the top 10 and earned five wins and 10 podiums from 17 rounds will be nearly impossible to recreate, but that won’t stop him or the rest of the No. 10 car crew from trying to hold onto their IndyCar crown.

“It’s always tough to win again, to have everything go so well,” he said. “And then to do it again, it’s super tough But it’s the beauty of it, as well. You might be lucky one day or even one year you can be lucky; ‘23 for me, our worst result was eighth and sometimes I was lucky. So you need to keep on working and you cannot relax. There will be somebody trying to chase us and take this from us since the last race, and we cannot allow that to happen.

“I was going through images the other day because I wanted to send some to my granddad. He’s always asking a lot about the images from the track, and I was going through the IndyCar media site where you have all the images that are structured and organized by race, and I told my wife, ‘Wow, look at all the images we have, it’s either on the podium or winning or I’m smiling.’ I just want for us to have another season close to that, because it was amazing.”