McLaren accused of ‘playing a blinder’ with Oscar Piastri contract

McLaren have tied down Oscar Piastri to enter the new power unit regulations with the side, with a new two-year deal.

Ex-Formula 1 driver Karun Chandhok has praised McLaren for “locking down” Oscar Piastri to a two-year extension, keeping him at the side until at least the end of 2026.

With the rookie taking the sport by storm, he’s certainly going to be a target for the top teams; however, this won’t be possible due to his new deal, unless they’re prepared to pay a huge fee.

Piastri’s market value has skyrocketed during his maiden campaign and presumably doubled last weekend at the Qatar Grand Prix alone, where he won the sprint race ahead of Max Verstappen.

He backed this up by finishing second in the race, marking his best finish in his F1 career so far.

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Piastri is certainly a future World Champion if given a good enough car, something McLaren now have until the end of 2026 to deliver him.

By giving the 22-year-old a new contract and having Lando Norris until at least the end of 2025, the Woking-based team are in a great position looking ahead to the future, especially with the likes of Red Bull potentially already searching for a new driver to replace Sergio Perez.

Perez is contracted until the end of 2024 but isn’t expected to be retained, with team principal Christian Horner having admitted that he’s open to looking beyond the Red Bull family for his replacement.

Horner also isn’t wanting a driver who’ll directly compete with Verstappen, with “two alpha drivers” not being something the Red Bull boss is interested in.

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As a result, they may have been interested in Piastri for 2025, something which can no longer happen unless they pay McLaren a massive fee.

Chandhok therefore thinks McLaren have been so clever in extending Piastri’s deal, as the British side are now in “quite a good position of strength negotiating”.

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“I think this is a really interesting time in the driver market because we’re in a little bit of a pause until we see what happens for next year,” Chandhok said on Sky Sports F1.

“I think McLaren and Zak [Brown, CEO] have played a blinder by locking down Oscar because they got Lando for the next two years, and Oscar has proved to be a little star, hasn’t he?

“They’ve got driving stability and, actually, now they’re in quite a good position of strength negotiating because Lando’s now locked in for the next two years, Oscar’s beyond it. It’ll be fun times, the next couple of seasons, with all that.”