Oscar Piastri will replace Daniel Ricciardo at McLaren in 2023 after the FIA’s Contract Recognition Board (CRB) upheld the team’s contract with the Formula 2 champion.
McLaren and Alpine both felt they had a valid contract for the Australian services for next season.
On Friday, the CRB upheld McLaren’s contract, revealing that he had signed a two-year contract on 4 July, the day after the British Grand Prix.
Immediately after the verdict was handed down, McLaren announced that Piastri would join the team in 2023.
Piastri is regarded as the best young driver to enter F1 since the 2019 rookie class of Lando Norris – who will be his teammate in 2023 – George Russell and Alex Albon.
Piastri said: “I am extremely excited to make my F1 debut with such a prestigious team as McLaren and I am very grateful for the opportunity presented to me. The team has a long tradition of giving young talent a chance. and I’m looking forward to working hard with Lando to push the team to the front of the grid.”
The news leaves Alpine without a replacement for Aston Martin-bound Fernando Alonso next year. AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly has emerged as a leading contender for that seat, although Ricciardo, who is about to leave McLaren, opened the door for Piastri to join, is still in the mix.
If Alpine wants Gasly, they will have to pay Red Bull to buy out the final year of the French driver deal.
Alpine released a brief statement after the verdict stating: “We consider the matter closed on our side and will announce our full 2023 driver lineup in due course.”
It is a humiliating setback for Alpine as he has lost a longtime driver academy member after setting up an extensive Formula 1 testing program this year at great expense to him.
The dispute started during the Formula 1 summer break after Aston Martin confirmed Alonso’s signing for 2023.
Alpine Academy product Piastri, considered a star of the future, seemed like the most logical option to fill that gap and Alpine was quick to announce that he would be stepping up to the F1 team for next year, although it was noteworthy that it press release came with no quote from a driver who has just made his F1 debut.
Two hours later, Piastri sent out a now famous Tweet: “I understand that Alpine F1 has released a press release late this afternoon without my permission that I will drive for them next year. This is wrong and I do not have a contract with Alpine until 2023. Next year I will drive not for Alpine.”
Piastri’s manager Mark Webber played a key role in the talks with McLaren. Webber worked with McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl when he was in charge of Porsche’s World Endurance Championship team. Led by Seidl, Webber was part of the team that won the WEC title in 2016.
With both Alpine and McLaren convinced they had a valid contract with Piastri, the matter went to the Contract Recognition Committee (CRB).
The CRB was formed in 1992 to deal with a dispute between Jordan and Benetton over Michael Schumacher’s services, which was won by Benetton. It has been rarely called upon in F1 since then, but it settled a dispute between British American Racing and Williams over Jenson Button in 2004, which was won by BAR, and a dispute between Toyota and BMW over Timo Glock in 2007, which Toyota won. won.