French journalist makes ‘secret’ Oscar Piastri claim

2021 F2 Champion Oscar Piastri is replacing Daniel Ricciardo at McLaren next season.

21-year-old Oscar Piastri has reportedly gotten his career as a McLaren Formula 1 driver underway, with French outlet Auto Hebdo reporting that the Aussie took part in a ‘secret’ test at the home of the French Grand Prix.

Piastri was an instrumental part in one of the storylines of the season, with the 2021 Formula 2 World Champion having refused to race for Alpine.

The technically still current Alpine reserve driver was announced by the team that he’d be racing alongside Esteban Ocon in 2023, following Fernando Alonso’s departure.

It turned out this wasn’t the case, though, as Piastri quickly released his own statement that he hadn’t agreed to race for Alpine next year and won’t be doing so either.

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This made boss Otmar Szafnauer furious, with the Romanian-American having called Piastri a bunch of unnecessary words.

It was soon reported that Piastri rejected Alpine due to having signed a deal with McLaren to replace Daniel Ricciardo, a deal that has since been confirmed.

Szafnauer, though, was adamant that Piastri was contracted to race for them; however, following a hearing by the FIA’s Contract Recognition Board, it was revealed that his deal with McLaren was the only binding contract he had.

Despite this, Piastri is still contracted with Alpine until the end of the year, with some having asked if the Enstone-based side would release him early to best prepare for life at Woking.

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Szafnauer previously said that he hadn’t thought about it.

“I don’t want to think about it yet because there’s more considerations to be had,” Szafnauer said.

McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl echoed Szafnauer’s comments recently, after admitting there was “no update” on trying to get Piastri into the side before next year.

“No, there’s no update. But I will tell you first as soon as I have an update,” said Seidl recently.

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Clearly, though, there has been a change of heart between the sides, with it believed that Piastri tested for McLaren at Paul Ricard on the short circuit last Wednesday and then on the full track last Thursday.

Despite the leak by Auto Hebdo, who are a specialist car magazine in France, no confirmation of the test has been made by the papaya side.

“McLaren has not issued any official communications about the test,” correspondent Jeremy Satis said.