McLaren has reached an agreement with Alpine to allow Oscar Piastri to take part in the Young Driver Test after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix next week.
Piastri was at the center of a tug-of-war between the two teams after signing a deal to replace Daniel Ricciardo at McLaren but his current team Alpine claimed he had a valid contract for 2023. The FIA’s Contract Recognition Board ruled that Alpine did not have such a deal and that Piastri was free to join McLaren once his existing contract expired at the end of this year.
Now the two teams have reached an agreement that allows Piastri to run in the current car at the end of year test — taking place two days after the final round of the season — after the Australian also ran in the 2021 car for McLaren at Paul Ricard.
“I can confirm that in the end we reached a settlement agreement with all parties involved which enabled us to put Oscar in an old car last week in Paul Ricard and do a private test, and which will enable us as well to officially start working with Oscar on Monday after the last race in Abu Dhabi,” McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl said. “That enables us then as well to put him in the current car in the Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi, which is something we are very much looking forward to. It’s great for us and for Oscar.
“To be honest, with running an old car alone on a track there’s not too much to read into it. In the end it was a good start for Oscar together with us and that’s pretty much it for the moment. The main thing now within the team is to have full focus on these last two race weekends together with Daniel (Ricciardo).
“We’re still committed on both sides to really try to finish our chapter together on a high before then we will switch our full attention to Oscar and Lando (Norris) and get both ready again for next year’s season.”
The agreement was reached with Alpine also able to run Pierre Gasly immediately after his final race for AlphaTauri, with RACER understanding Nyck de Vries will begin his work for AlphaTauri during the Abu Dhabi test.
“The season’s nearly at the end and it was time to come to an agreement and we did,” Szafnauer said. “We’re happy that Oscar can start his McLaren career after the last race in Abu Dhabi and do the test, and we will be doing the same with Pierre, who will be in the car in Abu Dhabi.
“We’ll get working on our driving pairing and get his feedback and the initial thoughts on the car this year, to understand the things he likes and dislikes and hopefully make some changes on next year’s car to help.”