Australian Oscar Piastri will drive for Formula One team McLaren and not Alpine next year, motor car racing’s governing body the International Motoring Federation (FIA) announced on Friday.
The 21-year-old had been caught up in a fight between Alpine and McLaren with the former claiming Piastri had a contract to drive for them and even announcing him as part of their 2023 line-up.
Piastri forced them into an embarrassing u-turn hours afterwards when he said he had no such arrangement with them. However, a FIA arbitration panel judged in McLaren’s favour.
Piastri will replace compatriot Daniel Ricciardo in the team after he agreed last week to terminate his contract a year early.
“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 in a McLaren statement on their website.
“The team has a long tradition of giving young talent a chance, and I’m looking forward to working hard alongside Lando (Norris) to push the team towards the front of the grid.”
McLaren were delighted at the outcome and securing the 2021 F2 champion.
“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.”
Alpine released a curt statement. “Alpine F1 Team thanks the Contract Recognition Board (CRB) for convening on Monday and we acknowledge the decision they have made,” read the statement.
“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.”
The dispute began in the wake of Aston Martin’s recruitment of two-time champion Fernando Alonso from Alpine to succeed retirement-bound four-time champion Sebastian Vettel next season.
On discovering that Alonso intended to leave, Alpine announced they were promoting Piastri, but he countered by saying he had not signed a contract.