Oscar Piastri has a new organization to call home after it was announced that he will be driving for the McLaren F1 Team for the 2023 FIA Formula One World Championship season.
The announcement comes after a summer-long dispute between McLaren and the Alpine F1 Team, where both organizations held valid contract for Piastri, which concluded ahead of this weekend’s Dutch Grand Prix at Circuit Zandvoort after the FIA’s contract recognition board (CRB) upheld McLaren’s contract with Piastri over Alpine’s.
The dispute commenced in early August, where Alpine announced that Piastri, the reigning Formula 2 champion who currently serves as a reserve competitor for Alpine, would be promoted to Formula One to replace two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso, who will be switching to Aston Martin, for the 2023 season. Piastri refuted the claim a few hours later on social media, which led to speculation that he would be joining McLaren for the upcoming season.
In the ruling made by the FIA, it was revealed that McLaren Racing had signed Piastri to a two-year deal on July 4 following the British Grand Prix at Silverstone Circuit. Once the FIA made their final ruling, McLaren took to social media to confirm the signing of Piastri for the upcoming F1 season, where he will be competing alongside Lando Norris.
“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,” Piastri said in a statement. “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.”
Piastri joins McLaren with an extensive racing resume that commenced with karting at age 11 before relocating to the United Kingdom in 2016 to enhance his racing career. After competing in 11 Formula 4 UAE Championship events from 2016-17, the Australian joined TRS Arden Junior Team for the 2017 F4 British Championship season, where he finished in the runner-up spot in the standings after accumulating six victories and 13 podiums. Three years later, he won the 2020 FIA Formula 3 championship with Prema Racing before claiming the Formula 2 title this past season, where he won six races and claimed 11 podiums.
“The entire team is delighted to welcome Oscar to McLaren for the 2023 F1 season,” Andreas Seidl, Team Principal of the McLaren F1 Team, said. “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. We still have an important job to do this season which the team remains focused on, before we will then ensure Oscar is integrated into the team as quickly as possible and ready for the challenges ahead. We look forward to preparing for an exciting 2023 season together.”
“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,” Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren Racing, added. “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.”
Piastri’s move to McLaren means that he will be replacing Daniel Ricciardo, who announced nine days ago that he will be mutually parting ways from the organization despite his contract spanning through 2023. Ricciardo’s plans for next season have yet to be determined.
Following the FIA’s decision, Alpine released a statement of their own:
“BWT Alpine F1 Team thanks the Contract Recognition Board (CRB) for convening on Monday and we acknowledge the decision they have made. We consider the matter closed on our side and will announce our full 2023 driver line-up in due course. Our immediate focus is the Dutch Grand Prix and securing points in our fight for fourth in the Constructors’ Championship.”
With eight Grand Prix events remaining to the 2022 Formula One season, Alpine occupies fourth place in the constructors’ standings by 20 points over McLaren as both continue their battle to emerge as the highest midfield organization. Their on-track battle is set to continue this upcoming weekend at Circuit Zandvoort for the Dutch Grand Prix, which will occur on Sunday, September 4.