Alpine/McLaren battle over Piastri

The highly anticipated battle between Alpine and McLaren for the crown of Formula One's next champion is on, with Oscar Piastri at the center of it all.

Oscar Jack Piastri is an Australian racing driver who was born on April 6, 2001. He has recently signed for the Woking team for the upcoming 2023 season.

Piastri was appointed reserve driver for the 2022 season for the Alpine team. He has previously won the FIA F3 and F2 titles. However, there was a war between Alpine and McLaren as Alpine vividly made it clear that they had a solid contract with the driver, while McLaren wanted Piastri to replace Daniel Ricciardo for the 2023 season. McLaren ultimately won the battle, as the F1 Contract Recognition Board ruled in its favor. 

Mark Webber, Piastri’s manager, told Speedcafe that Piastri was pretty relaxed. He commented and said, "Of course, he was ironically showing as much loyalty as he could do under the circumstances, because he was waiting for answers, and he was the one that was the most loyal out of the whole situation. And all the other shareholders and people who had been there since he’s been eight years old were certainly a lot less patient. But Oscar was keen to be as loyal as possible, and it still was pretty challenging, what the future was looking like. Then obviously McLaren said they wanted to make a change whether that was Oscar, or whoever it was that was the main thing, we could’ve had no Aussies on the grid next year. Who knows?”

However, Webber refused to share information on McLaren and Piastri's relationship, though he did say that the contract was "a great opportunity for Oscar to get going. Of course, he was mindful of replacing Daniel Ricciardo, absolutely he was. He knows if it wasn’t him, it could’ve been someone else. He knows he should’ve been racing this year, 2022. That’s the big killer here. He did a few days testing, but racing drivers have got to race and that was really hurting him. They [McLaren] wanted him. That’s the first thing. That makes a pretty big difference. It’s important to be wanted, and be pretty clear and open on what the plan is.”

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Piastri is looking forward to his F1 debut in March. Asked to comment, he said, "Hopefully we can get a good result in Bahrain. For me personally, I just want to try and learn as much as I can. If we can get some good results, that would be a bonus. Just go out and enjoy it, enjoy my first race for over a year, have some fun, and get stuck in." 

His 2023 goals are to "learn as much as I can. I think there is a lot to learn in the world of F1. Putting results aside, as long as I’m following everything as well as I can, learning as much as I can, and doing everything the correct way, then I think the results will come naturally. So, do everything the right way, start off on the right foot, and make sure I have some fun too."

McLaren launched their 2023 car on February 13 in Woking.

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