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F1: Oscar Piastri will drive for McLaren in 2023

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ZANDVOORT, Netherlands – It’s a soap opera coming to an end and a new blow for Alpine: Australian Oscar Piastri, at the center of a legal scam between McLaren and the Alpine Formula 1 teams, will drive for the first time since 2023, while the second remains in search of a pilot alongside the French Esteban Ocon.

If the two teams claimed to have a contract with the 21-year-old Australian driver for next season, the F1 Contract Recognition Bureau (CRB), an ad hoc arbitration body, ruled in favor of the British at the expense of the Frenchman.

“The Court unanimously decided that the only contract to be recognized by the Bureau is the contract between McLaren Racing Limited and Mr. Piastri dated July 4, 2022”, reads the application decision, transmitted Friday in an FIA press release. .

“Mr. Piastri has the right to drive for McLaren Racing Limited for the 2023 and 2024 seasons,” it is specified.

The CRB, made up for the occasion of four lawyers specializing in international sports law of four different nationalities, met on Monday to hear the parties.

McLaren has announced the signing of a “multi-year” contract with Piastri, who will team up with British Lando Norris.

“I am very happy to make my F1 debut with such a prestigious team as McLaren and I am very grateful for the opportunity that has been given to me,” commented the interested party.

Piastri is considered a great hope for Formula 1, having won Formula Renault Eurocup in 2019, then Formula 3 (2020) and Formula 2 (2021), two stepping stones towards the elite.

Later that day, McLaren Team Principal Andreas Seidl was thrilled with his new addition: “We think he’s perfect for us, he’s young, full of energy, ambitious, I think he’s got the right level of confidence too, but at the same time he is very humble (…) he is very loyal ”.

Who to replace Alonso?

For Alpine it is a real hit. The team says they “take note of the decision” in a short press release. “We believe the matter is closed on our part and we will announce our full training of pilots for 2023 in due course,” he also said.

Contacted by AFP, the team’s press service declined to comment further.

The French team is therefore still looking for a new teammate to join the French Esteban Ocon on the grid next season, after the surprise departure announced this summer for two-time world champion Alonso (2005-2006 with Renault). , expected in 2023 at Aston Martin.

Caught off guard by Alonso, Alpine had announced Oscar Piastri as his successor. But the current reserve driver from the Alps immediately denied the team’s announcement, pointing out that he had no contract with the team for next year, at a time when it was already rumored that he had signed a contract with McLaren. .

With the decision of the CRB on Friday, Alpine even sees the possibility of obtaining financial compensation from McLaren for the departure of the hopeful Piastri, who in recent years has trained in his academy with strokes of millions of euros invested.

Among the contenders now in second place, we remember the German Mick Schumacher (currently with Haas) – favorite choice of Ocon, his dear friend – or the second Frenchman on the grid, Pierre Gasly, engaged until the end of 2023 at AlphaTauri, The team of the “little sister” of Red Bull.

If for the moment Gasly prefers to make contact, it is not excluded that he will be released before the end of his engagement, as a compensation between the two teams.

Gasly and Ocon grew up together in karting in Normandy. Born 50 kilometers away (Rouen and Evreux respectively) and seven months apart (February and September 1996), their relationship became complicated.

Another suitor for Alpine: Daniel Ricciardo, who will leave McLaren at the end of the season. The Australian had raced for Renault (formerly Alpine’s name) in 2019 and 2020.

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