Photo courtesy of BTW Alpine F1 Team
McLaren Formula 1 has announced that it has signed 2021 Formula 2 champion Oscar Piastri to a multi-year deal and will join Lando Norris starting in 2023.
The FIA’s Contract Recognition Board (CRB) ruled that the deal with McLaren was valid for the 2023 and 2024 seasons.
It's official! 😁#F1 #OP81 @mclaren pic.twitter.com/CFY3Z1ddrQ
— Oscar Piastri (@OscarPiastri) September 2, 2022
“I am super excited to be joining the grid with such a prestigious team like McLaren,” Piastri said in a video he posted on social media. “I have no doubt it’s a great place to start my career.”
Piastri’s announcement comes in the wake of numerous moves teams have made to set up its team for 2023 and beyond. The first was the signing of two-time world champion and current Alpine driver Fernando Alonso to a multi-year contract with Aston Martin to replace four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, who is retiring at the end of the 2022 season.
NEWS: @AstonMartinF1 announces Fernando Alonso for 2023.
We are delighted to confirm that two-time #F1 World Champion @alo_oficial will join the team from next season on a multi-year contract.
Tap below to read more. ⬇️#WeClimbTogether
— Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team (@AstonMartinF1) August 1, 2022
Vettel’s decision to retire was the first domino to fall in the movement of driver seats. Aston Martin’s move to secure Alonso pointed to Piastri being the next driver in line to get an opportunity in Formula 1.
Piastri had spent the last four years as a reserve driver for BTW Alpine and was in line to take Alonso’s spot. On Aug 2, Alpine announced Piastri would be promoted to the French team’s Formula 1 duo alongside Estaban Ocon.
2023 driver line-up confirmed: Esteban Ocon 🤝 Oscar Piastri
After four years as part of the Renault and Alpine family, Reserve Driver Oscar Piastri is promoted to a race seat alongside Esteban Ocon starting from 2023. pic.twitter.com/4Fvy0kaPn7
— BWT Alpine F1 Team (@AlpineF1Team) August 2, 2022
However, Piastri released a statement minutes after saying he had not agreed to a deal with Alpine and would not race with the team next year.
I understand that, without my agreement, Alpine F1 have put out a press release late this afternoon that I am driving for them next year. This is wrong and I have not signed a contract with Alpine for 2023. I will not be driving for Alpine next year.
— Oscar Piastri (@OscarPiastri) August 2, 2022
The announcement shocked the Formula 1 world, but pieces started to fall in place when current McLaren F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo announced 2022 would be his last year with the team despite having one more year in his contract.
— Daniel Ricciardo (@danielricciardo) August 24, 2022
“Obviously we put a lot of effort on both sides but it just hasn’t worked the way we wanted,” Ricciardo said on social media, “The team has decided to make a change for next year.”
Alpine has yet to respond to his sudden announcement that contradicted the team’s initial announcement. In the four years Piastri has spent as an Alpine reserve driver, he climbed the ranks of open-wheel racing.
Piastri won the Formula 3 championship in 2020, winning two races and scoring 164 points to beat out Théo Pourchaire by three points.
The 21-year-old from Australia ensured his high-ranking status in 2021 by winning the Formula 2 world championship in his rookie season, defeating 2019 Formula 3 champion Robert Shwartzman by 60.5 points.
Piastri will make his Formula 1 debut with McLaren in the 2023 opener at Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir for the Bahrain Grand Prix.
A start time and date for next year’s season opener have not been announced.