Piastri to race for McLaren F1 in 2023 after CRB ruling

McLaren has confirmed Oscar Piastri will race for the team in 2023 and beyond after Formula 1’s Contract Recognition Board ruled in its favour this week.

Oscar Piastri, Alpine

In a communication issued by the FIA on Friday, it was confirmed the CRB had unanimously decided that Piastri’s agreement with McLaren was his only valid deal for next year after Alpine had intended to field its current reserve driver in a race seat next year.

McLaren followed this news by announcing 2021 Formula 2 champion Piastri had joined the team on a multi-year deal from 2023, completing its line-up alongside Lando Norris.

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“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,” said Piastri.

“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.”

The news puts an end to the contract saga that has embroiled Piastri and Alpine in recent weeks, sparked by Fernando Alonso’s decision to leave Alpine for Aston Martin in 2023.

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Alpine announced that Piastri would be racing for the team next year the day after Alonso announced his exit, only for Piastri to deny he would be racing for the team in 2023.

The CRB ruling revealed Piastri and McLaren signed an agreement on 4 July - the Monday after the British Grand Prix - which is understood to have been a reserve deal for next year.

Oscar Piastri, Alpine A521

Oscar Piastri, Alpine A521

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

But with Daniel Ricciardo’s exit from McLaren since agreed, the deal could be upgraded for a full race seat.

In a short statement, Alpine said: “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.”

It leaves Alpine in search of a driver to partner Esteban Ocon at the team for next year and means it will lose Piastri for free at the end of the season. Had the CRB ruled in Alpine’s favour, McLaren would have needed to strike an agreement with the team to break him from his contract for next year.

Autosport revealed last week that Alpine was interested in signing Pierre Gasly and was in talks with Red Bull about a deal for the Frenchman, who is contracted to AlphaTauri for next year.

Piastri will make his F1 debut next year with McLaren after a glittering junior career that saw him win the F3 and F2 titles in consecutive years before becoming Alpine’s reserve driver for 2022.

“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 McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown.

“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.”

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