McLaren has signed Oscar Piastri for 2023!
McLaren has won the legal battle with Alpine for the services of the highly-rated F2 champion Oscar Piastri
The silliest of F1 silly season stories is over: after Oscar Piastri took to Twitter last month to reject Alpine’s announcement that he’d replace Fernando Alonso for 2023, it’s now been confirmed that the team’s reserve driver will in fact line up for Mclaren next season.
Last week it was announced that Daniel Ricciardo was being ousted from his three-year contract 12 months early, leading to speculation that it had lined up Piastri for next year instead.
Thus Alpine and McLaren were forced to turn over their respective Piastri paperwork to F1’s Contract Recognition Board, which has decided that the young Aussie - who is the reigning F2 champion and a former F3 title winner too - is free to line up alongside Lando Norris. And as such, he's signed a multi-year deal.
A communication issued by the FIA read: “The Tribunal has issued a Unanimous Decision that the only Contract to be recognised by the Board is the Contract between McLaren Racing Limited and Mr Piastri dated 4 July 2022. Mr Piastri is entitled to drive for McLaren Racing Limited for the 2023 and 2024 seasons.”
Well then. No viral tweet from Piastri this time unfortunately, but some nice pre-prepared words to mark his confirmation as a McLaren driver: “I’m extremely excited to be making my F1 debut with such a prestigious team as McLaren and I’m very grateful for the opportunity that’s been offered to me.
"The team has a long tradition of giving young talent a chance, and I’m looking forward to working hard alongside Lando to push the team towards the front of the grid. I’m focused on preparing for my F1 debut in 2023 and starting my F1 career in papaya.”
Meanwhile Alpine - which had Alonso and Piastri on its books but has managed to retain neither of them - had this to say: “BWT Alpine F1 Team thanks the Contract Recognition Board (CRB) for convening on Monday and we acknowledge the decision they have made.” Awkward.
It added that the identity of the driver who’ll partner Esteban Ocon next season will be announced “in due course”. Rumours are circulating that Pierre Gasly could make the switch from Red Bull junior team AlphaTauri.
The confirmation of Piastri to McLaren draws a line under a saga that had been rumbling on for weeks over F1’s summer break. The 21-year-old can now focus on preparing for life as an F1 driver, while McLaren’s bosses will be hopeful that stealing away Alpine’s protege will lead to a stronger challenge on the constructors’ championship.
“The entire team is delighted to welcome Oscar to McLaren for the 2023 F1 season,” said team principal Andreas Seidl. “He has an impressive racing career to date, and we are sure that together with Lando, he will be able to help us move another step forward towards our ambitions.”
Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter. Look out for your regular round-up of news, reviews and offers in your inbox.
Get all the latest news, reviews and exclusives, direct to your inbox.
And CEO Zak Brown added: “Oscar is one of the up-and-coming talents coming through the feeder series into F1 and we are delighted to see him join the team for 2023. Winning both F3 and F2 in successive rookie seasons is a real achievement and testament to his talent in single-seater racing.
“In Lando and Oscar we have a young, exciting F1 line-up with a huge amount of potential, standing us in good stead to achieve our future ambitions. Oscar is an exciting addition to the McLaren family, and we look forward to seeing him grow with our F1 team.”