Oscar Piastri will drive for McLaren Racing in 2023 after contract board rules against Alpine

Oscar Piastri McLaren
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Oscar Piastri will join McLaren on a multiyear deal in 2023 after Formula One’s contract board ruled in his favor and against Alpine on Friday.

Alpine was in dispute with Piastri – the team’s reserve driver – after he said he didn’t want the promotion to the Alpine seat vacated by Fernando Alonso for next year.

Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer wanted to retain the 21-year-old Australian driver.

The matter went before F1’s Contract Recognition Board this week, and the four-person tribunal ruled that McLaren had an existing contract in place.

“The only contract to be recognized by the board is the contract between McLaren Racing Limited and Mr Piastri dated 4 July 2022,” governing body FIA said in a statement. “Mr. Piastri is entitled to drive for McLaren Racing Limited for the 2023 and 2024 seasons.”

Piastri won the F2 title last year.

“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,” Piastri said. “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 CEO Zak Brown called Piastri “one of the up-and-coming talents” and said he can succeed alongside the British driver Norris, who has six career podiums in F1.

“In Lando and Oscar we have a young, exciting F1 lineup with a huge amount of potential, standing us in good stead to achieve our future ambitions,” Brown said. “Oscar is an exciting addition to the McLaren family, and we look forward to seeing him grow with our F1 team.”

Alpine said it accepted the ruling, which leaves it with a vacant seat next year.

French driver Pierre Gasly, who drives for AlphaTauri, has been linked to the seat. So has Daniel Ricciardo, who is splitting with McLaren at the end of this year.

“We consider the matter closed on our side and will announce our full 2023 driver lineup in due course,” Alpine said in a statement. “Our immediate focus is the Dutch Grand Prix and securing points in our fight for fourth in the constructors’ championship.”

Alonso is driving for Aston Martin next year as a replacement for four-time F1 champion Sebastian Vettel, who is retiring.

McLaren Racing also fields a team in the NTT IndyCar Seres, where it also has F1 testing contracts with Colton Herta and Alex Palou, who is in a contract dispute with Chip Ganassi Racing that is similar to Piastri’s situation after announcing he’d signed with McLaren in July.

NEOM McLaren Formula E announces Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast for 2023 season

McLaren Formula E Hughes
McLaren Racing
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Doubling down on their commitment to electric auto sports, McLaren Racing announced Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast to compete in the 2023 Formula E Series (FE), which completes their driver lineup.

The NEOM McLaren FE team was formed by the acquisition of the Mercedes-EQ Formula E team that won the 2021 and 2022 championships with Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries behind the wheel.

“Today’s announcement feels like a long time coming,” said Ian James, managing director of NEOM McLaren Electric Racing in a release. “Since May this year, when we first announced McLaren Racing’s entry into Formula E, we have been working tirelessly to get in place the best possible team and structure for sustainable success.

“On the one hand, we have been working on the retention of the amazing talent that already was in place before going into the transitional phase. I’m proud to say I think we’ve done a great job on that front.

“On the other hand, we have been focusing on putting in place new processes and new talent – and the latter includes the drivers.”

The driver lineup clasps the two hands together.

Hughes brings 10 years racing experience in single seater cars, including a role with the acquired Mercedes-EQ team as a reserve and development driver for the past two seasons. He is the 2013 BRDC Formula 4 champion and has multiple wins in Formula 2, including two in 2020.

Announced in August, Rast joins the team after earning two podium finishes and six top-fives in 22 career Formula E starts for Audi Sport ABT before returning to the DTM Series last year. Rast’s best finish in Formula E came in the Puebla E Prix when he finished second to teammate Lucas di Grassi by less than a half second.

McLaren’s commitment to Formula E comes one year after they entered the Extreme E rally series in 2022 with Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour in the driver lineup. After a modest start to the season, the McLaren XE drivers crossed the finish line first in Round 4 in Chile, but were assessed a time penalty that dropped them to fifth. Last week in the season finale in Uruguay, they held onto a hard-earned second place finish.