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FIA's CRB rule Piastri has valid McLaren contract for 2023

The ruling was needed after Oscar Piastri refused to drive for Alpine, with McLaren set to hand him his F1 debut in 2023.

The FIA's Contract Recognition Board (CRB) has ruled in favour of McLaren in the dispute with Alpine over the Formula 1 services of Oscar Piastri. Alpine had intended to promote its junior driver to a 2023 race seat alongside Esteban Ocon, replacing Fernando Alonso who defected to Aston Martin. However, Piastri refused the drive saying on social media he would "not be driving for Alpine in 2023." With both parties claiming a right for the 2021 Formula 2 champion, the independent CRB met to investigate the evidence to see who had a valid contract to hand Piastri his F1 debut. The hearing began on Monday (29th August), with the ruling delivered on Friday afternoon of the Dutch Grand Prix weekend. The CRB found that McLaren does have a valid contract for the Australian to partner Lando Norris from 2023 and 2024 with Alpine not having an F1 contract in place.

Piastri grateful for McLaren debut

“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," explained Piastri in a McLaren statement. "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," added Piastri, who will replace fellow Australian Daniel Ricciardo. “The entire team is delighted to welcome Oscar to McLaren for the 2023 F1 season. He has an impressive racing career to date, and we are sure that together with Lando, he will be able to help us move another step forward towards our ambitions," said McLaren Team Principal Andreas Seidl. "We still have an important job to do this season which the team remains focused on, before we will then ensure Oscar is integrated into the team as quickly as possible and ready for the challenges ahead. We look forward to preparing for an exciting 2023 season together.” His thoughts were echoed by McLaren CEO Zak Brown who called Piastri "one of the up-and-coming talents coming through the feeder series." "Winning both F3 and F2 in successive rookie seasons is a real achievement and testament to his talent in single-seater racing. In Lando and Oscar we have a young, exciting F1 line-up with a huge amount of potential, standing us in good stead to achieve our future ambitions. Oscar is an exciting addition to the McLaren family, and we look forward to seeing him grow with our F1 team.”

Alpine response to losing Piastri

In a short statement, Alpine said it "considered the matter closed on our side" and that Ocon's teammate would be announced in "due course." "Our immediate focus is the Dutch Grand Prix and securing points in our fight for fourth [with McLaren] in the Constructors’ Championship," it added.

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