Oscar Piastri will drive McLaren in Formula 1 from 2023

Oscar Piastri will drive McLaren in Formula 1 from 2023

Oscar Piastri is already the new face of McLaren – Credits: @Twitter @OscarPiastri

The Formula 1 seats for next year are gradually being completed: McLaren has announced that Australian Oscar Piastri has joined the team, with a multi-year deal from 2023, completing its line-up alongside Lando Norris and replacing Daniel Ricardo. “I am very happy to make my F1 debut with such a prestigious team as McLaren and I am very grateful for the opportunity that has been given 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 to the front of the grid. I’m focused on preparing for my debut in F1 in 2023 and to start my F1 career under the colors of papaya”, he added, after a romance that was triggered a few weeks ago, when Aston Martin announced his hiring and that he himself had denied the information. .

The four-person Contract Recognition Board (CRB) ruled unanimously that McLaren had the valid contract for the 21-year-old driver’s services. Piastri, Formula 2 champion in 2021, had been Alpine’s reserve driver.

Alpine had wanted to promote Piastri after double world champion Fernando Alonso, 41, announced his departure to Aston Martin at the end of the season, but the Australian declined the offer. “The Court has rendered a unanimous decision that the extraordinary contract to be recognized by the Council is the contract between McLaren Racing Limited and Mr Piastri dated July 4, 2022,” said a statement issued by the FIA. “Mr Piastri is eligible to drive for McLaren Racing Limited for the 2023 and 2024 seasons,” he added.

Alpine also acknowledged the verdict. “We consider the matter closed on our end and will announce our full roster of drivers for 2023 in due course,” the team said in a statement.

“I’m super excited to join such a prestigious team like McLaren. I’m convinced it’s a great place to start my career. It’s been a long road to get here, racing for twelve years, but it was my dream from the start,” said Piastri, who turned 21 in April.

Who is Piastri?

Oscar Piastri was born in Melbourne, the city that is home to the Albert Park street circuit and which this season has re-emerged as the home of F.1 after two years of absence, due to the global Covid-19 pandemic. The young pilot tHe landed in 2014 at the IAME International Final at Le Mans, his first experience outside his country., where the trophies of the conquests accumulated. “It was an opportunity to test my skills against European riders,” he recalls that time. At 14 and in his third karting campaign, he was already dazzling on the Australian calendar. It was a question of fighting against 72 candidates in one of the cathedrals of world motor sport, a showcase for settling in European competitions. He completes the podium, behind the Briton Josh Smith and the Belgian Gilles Magnus.

But only two years later, Piastri managed to return and launch the conquest of the Old Continent. He first had a brief experience in the United Arab Emirates F.4, a category which the FIA ​​made official in 2016, and that same season he made his debut in the British F.4 -former British Formula Ford. -, where he finished second. A plan for two championships in Formula Renault Eurocup, with the crown in 2019, was the certificate that allowed him to enter a new and fascinating stage. And the signing with the Prema team to race in FIA ​​F.3 and join the Renault Sport Academy meant two distinctions.

“The ultimate goal of the academies is for one of their drivers to become a future F.1 world champion”, this was the approach that Piastri was already developing at that time. Financial support and progress in physical training and engineering programs have been aspects that have reinforced the growth of the Australian, who at the Enstone factory met Daniel Ricciardo – current McLaren driver, but who joined Renault this same 2019-, tools that pressed to consolidate the ascent.

With the global pandemic, Piastri found himself stranded in Australia and the premiere of F.3 was suspended. 17,000 kilometers from London, he follows the guidelines of the Academy program; the training sessions were done via Skype. But at the same time, he was attending school — he was enrolled at a school in Haileybury — and had to adjust to jet lag to attend virtual classes. Eventually, in June 2020, he took an almost empty flight which 21 hours later dropped him off in the UK. The fond memory was that onboard entertainment and movies had been cancelled.

During the presentation of the Alpine team last February: Piastri appears as a reserve driver for Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso, but he will soon take his own flight

During the presentation of the Alpine team last February: Piastri appears as a reserve driver for Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso, but soon he will take off on his own – Credits: @Archivo

A Red Bull Racing debut couldn’t have been more auspicious: the Australian won the first of two races over the weekend and since then has been described as the protagonist; at Mugello he won the crown and became the first driver from his country to win the F.3 title. The conquest had an additional price: a few weeks later he was driving the Renault RS18 in Bahrain.

After promotion with the Prema team in F.2, he played in a start similar to that of 2020: debut and victory. Added to the brilliant campaign were the tests at Silverstone and Monza with an F.1. The Yas Marina circuit was the scene of the controversial definition between Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, but also where Piastri completed the task of being the F.2 monarch: six wins in 23 races; five podiums and pole position and six fastest laps, statistics that exalt superiority which he exercised, among them on Guanyu Zhou, the Chinese who finished third in the championship, although in 2022 he is part of the selection grid of 20 F.1 drivers.

December 2021 in Abu Dhabi: Oscar Piastri's Formula 2 title

December 2021 in Abu Dhabi: Oscar Piastri’s Formula 2 title – Credits: @Joe Portlock – Formula 1

To measure the status of Piastri, since 2016 only two drivers have had the same performance as the Australian in F.3 and F.2: Charles Leclerc and George Russell they were also first-year champions in both categories and in consecutive seasons. The Monegasque was promoted with Alfa Romeo to F.1 in 2018 and the following year he signed with Ferrari. The Briton joined the Grand Circus in 2019 with Williams and is now Hamilton’s partner at Mercedes.

“There are many variables that make an F.1 pilot successful. My task will be to learn from Alonso and Ocon. Watching how they develop a race weekend, the suggestions and interaction with the engineers, the ability to come up with ideas and make changes to the car… It will be a year of learning and not looking back said Piastri last January. Paradoxes of motorsport and paid seats, he hasn’t had a seat in F.1 throughout this year and hasn’t defended the crown in F.2 either. Alpine has taken the talented Aussie to every event and the Aussie has witnessed the new era the class is heading into without the pressure of racing. The time for siege and races has finally arrived in 2023.

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