One of silly season’s wildest dramas has come to a close. Oscar Piastri, reigning Formula 2 Champion and former Alpine reserve driver, has had his move to McLaren’s Formula 1 team acknowledged and approved by the Contract Recognition Board. He’ll be teaming up with Lando Norris for the 2023 season.
In case you missed it, Piastri was involved in a whole heap of contract drama last month. After Fernando Alonso announced his departure from the Alpine Formula 1 team, Alpine announced that Piastri would be taking his place for 2023. Piastri, though, denied that he had ever signed a contract.
Instead, Piastri said he would be moving to McLaren.
As you can imagine, this caused quite a kerfuffle in the F1 paddock, and the matter was brought before Formula 1's Contract Recognition Board in order to determine which of Piastri’s supposed contracts was valid.
Today, in an unanimous decision, the CRB has recognized the McLaren contract as the only valid contract Piastri has signed for 2022.
“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 at the time of announcement. “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.”
While I understand the impetus to want a driver to recognize your contract, this is probably the best result for both Alpine and Piastri. Had Piastri been forced into an Alpine race seat after publicly expressing dissatisfaction with the team, I can’t say I expect things would have gone well for him. You won’t perform at your peak if you aggressively do not want to be somewhere — and the team likely would have responded in kind.
This clears up one silly season mess and opens up the door for teams to begin filling out the rest of the F1 grid for 2023.