McLaren have announced that Oscar Piastri will partner Lando Norris after signing a two-year contract for its F1 outfit.
Alpine had originally announced Piastri as Esteban Ocon’s teammate last month but the Aussie denied that he had signed a contract to officially race for the team, with McLaren consequently emerging as his planned destination with a two-year contract already signed on 4 July 2022.
A contract row however ensured between Alpine and McLaren which led to the matter being dealt with by the Contract Recognition Board, who ruled in McLaren’s favour with the following statement:
“The only Contract to be recognised by the Board is the Contract between McLaren Racing Limited and Mr Piastri dated 4 July 2022. Mr Piastri is entitled to drive for McLaren Racing Limited for the 2023 and 2024 seasons.”
Piastri will replace his Australian compatriot, Daniel Ricciardo who will leave McLaren at end of season, with the 2021 F2 champion feeling “extremely excited” to join McLaren as a rookie and is “very grateful” to land this opportunity after acting as Alpine reserve driver this season.
The 21 year-old also acknowledged McLaren’s history with young drivers like Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris, as he said: “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.”
McLaren Team Principal, Andreas Seidl added that he is “delighted” to secure Piastri and is confident that the Aussie plus Norris will help the team progress further in achieving their ambitions within F1.
Seidl however iterated that focus remains on this season as he added: “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.”
McLaren CEO, Zak Brown echoed Seidl’s feelings as he described Piastri’s success in winning F3 and F2 in consecutive seasons as “a real achievement and testament to his talent in single-seater racing.”
On Piastri partnering Norris, Brown commented: “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.”