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Oscar Piastri to race for McLaren after expiring contract

Oscar Piastri will replace Daniel Ricciardo at McLaren in 2023 after the FIA’s Contract Approval Board (CRB) upheld the team’s deal with the F2 champion.

Both McLaren and Alpine felt they had valid contracts for Australian service next season.

CRB on Friday said it backed McLaren’s deal, signing a two-year deal on 4 July, the day after the British Grand Prix.

Shortly after the verdict was handed down, McLaren announced that Piastri would join the team in 2023.

Piastri is seen as the best young driver to enter F1 since the 2019 rookie class of Lando Norris of George Russell and Alex Albon, who will be his teammates in 2023.

Piastri said: “I am very excited to be making my F1 debut with such a prestigious team as McLaren. I am very grateful for the opportunity that has been offered to me. I look forward to working hard with Lando to push the team to the front of the grid.”

The news leaves Alpine without a replacement for Fernando Alonso, who will move to Aston Martin next year. AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly has emerged as the frontrunner for that seat, but Ricciardo, whose imminent departure from McLaren has opened the door to join Piastri, is still in the mix.

If Alpine wants Gasly, they have to pay Red Bull to buy the final year of the French driver’s contract.

Alpine issued a brief statement after the ruling, saying, “We believe this matter has been resolved on our part and will announce our full driver line-up for 2023 in due course.”

This is a humiliating setback for Alpine, who lost a longtime member of the Driver Academy after planning an extensive F1 testing program at great expense for him this year.

The controversy began over F1’s summer break after Aston Martin confirmed Alonso’s deal for 2023.

A product of Alpine Academy, considered a future star, Piastri seemed the most logical option to fill that gap and Alpine was quick to confirm he would be stepping up to the F1 team next year. We announced it, but it’s worth noting that it came with a press release. No quotes from the driver who just made his F1 debut.

Two hours later, Piastri sent out his now-famous tweet. I will sign with Alpine in 2023. I won’t be driving Alpine next year. ”

Piastri’s manager, Mark Webber, played a key role in discussions with McLaren. When Webber was in charge of Porsche’s World Endurance Championship team, he worked with his McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl. Under Seidl’s leadership, Webber was part of the team that won him the WEC title in 2016.

Both Alpine and McLaren were convinced that they had a valid contract with Piastri, so the matter was brought to the Contract Recognition Board (CRB).

CRB was formed in 1992 to address a dispute between Jordan and Benetton over Michael Schumacher’s services, which Benetton won. Since then, it has rarely been called out in F1, but the dispute between British American Racing and Williams over Jenson Button, which BAR won in 2004, and over Timo Glock, which Toyota won in 2007. The dispute between Toyota and BMW has been resolved.

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