Former F2 and F3 champion Oscar Piastri will race for McLaren during the 2023 Formula 1 season, the team confirmed Friday morning. While the Alpine F1 team has yet to comment on the outcome of its legal battle with Piastri, the FIA's confirmed that the official ruling ultimately favored McLaren.
After triggering some of the biggest driver-lineup drama the paddock has seen in ages, the 21-year-old Australian is finally confirmed to join McLaren and partner Lando Norris next year. And while every young driver heads into its maiden F1 season feeling pressured to perform right out of the gate, it's safe to assume that Piastri will be feeling the heat even more. The last thing he wants is a repeat of the Ricciardo/Norris relationship, where Norris unofficially took the title of Number One driver while Ricciardo struggled to deliver.
“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 McLaren press release. "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.”
Alpine F1's social media channels remain quiet this morning, and no announcements have been made via its press officers. Chances are upon seeing McLaren's tweet, Alpine team boss Otmar Szafnauer ditched his afternoon croissant for a bottle of wine. After all, it was just last weekend that he told the media he was "confident Piastri's contract ruling would favor them."
Meanwhile, McLaren CEO Zak Brown has got to be feeling mighty fine, having successfully managed to prematurely kick Ricciardo out of his team and replace him with the coveted youngster.
“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," said Brown in a press release. "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.”
Alpine's tweet from Aug. 2 confirming Piastri and Ocon as its 2023 drivers is actually still standing. It'll be interesting to see if it ever gets taken down, or if the team just hopes people will forget.
Got a tip? Email us at email@example.com