McLaren fire back at Alpine after Oscar Piastri claims

Oscar Piastri will replace Daniel Ricciardo at McLaren in 2023, after the 33-year-old failed to live up to expectations with the team.

McLaren will be replacing one Australian with another in 2023, as Oscar Piastri is drafted in to replace Daniel Ricciardo who is returning to Red Bull to serve as the team’s third driver.

Piastri was initially announced as an Alpine driver for next season over the winter break, forcing the 21-year-old to release a statement claiming that his contract with the team did not force him to accept a race seat.

The 2021 Formula 2 champion had secretly signed a contract with McLaren to replace Daniel Ricciardo around the time of the British Grand Prix, resulting in a legal case between Alpine and McLaren.

The Contract Recognition Board found that Piastri’s Alpine contract did not force him to accept his promotion to Fernando Alonso’s race seat in 2023, freeing the Australian to sign for McLaren.

READ: Lando Norris ‘wasn’t as exceptional as 2021’

Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer has recently fired a sly dig at his former academy driver, suggesting that selfish individuals like Piastri will not succeed in the sport.

Andreas Seidl was quick to defend his driver before he made the switch to become CEO of Sauber, claiming that McLaren are backing Piastri to be a huge success despite Szafnauer’s claims.

“I don’t know actually how much extra pressure this story from the summer creates for him,” Seidl told GPFans.

“There’s always pressure when you enter Formula 1 as a rookie. He will simply not think too much about it.

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“For a rookie coming into Formula 1, it’s a big challenge, another dimension compared to the junior categories.

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“At the same time, with everything he has shown in the junior categories, plus with the personality and character he is, he has everything in order to have a successful start in Formula 1.”

Piastri has been tipped as a star of the future by many within Formula 1, meaning McLaren’s lineup of Lando Norris and Piastri is one of the most exciting on the grid.

The team will be hoping to grow in tandem with their drivers, with a new wind tunnel facility set to be operational late next year, helping the team to achieve their long-term goal of challenging for world championships once again.