In one of the worst kept secrets in F1 history, McLaren has confirmed that Oscar Piastri will replace Daniel Ricciardo at the team in 2023, on a multi-year deal.
Fernando Alonso kicked off a monster month in this year's F1 silly season after the Hungarian Grand Prix by declaring his shock move from Alpine to Aston Martin. This was not just a shock to the paddock and fans, but also to Alpine.
Alpine followed by claiming that its reserve driver Piastri, the 2021 F2 champion who was part of the Alpine academy, would replace Alonso in the team in 2023. But this was thrown into confusion when Piastri released a terse statement on social media saying that he was in fact not going to be racing for Alpine.
That left McLaren as the likely destination for Piastri, following talks between his manager, Mark Webber, and the team, and that deal has been confirmed today.
The move comes following the announcement that Daniel Ricciardo would leave McLaren at the end of the 2022 season following a very up and down two years at the team. The Australian former Red Bull driver took McLaren’s first victory in a decade at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, but spent most of his time in orange struggling to match his young British team-mate Lando Norris.
Speaking after the announcement Piastri said: “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. 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."
Andreas Seidl, McLaren Team Principal, added: “The entire team is delighted to welcome Oscar to McLaren for the 2023 F1 season. He has an impressive racing career to date, and we are sure that together with Lando, he will be able to help us move another step forward towards our ambitions. 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. We look forward to preparing for an exciting 2023 season together.”