The Alpine team was the agitator of a ‘Silly Season’ that began with the announcement of Sebastian Vettel’s retirement. The German was the first piece of a puzzle that triggered the signing of Fernando Alonso by Aston Martin and that, at the same time, left a gap in the Enstone team, since they only had Esteban Ocon confirmed as a driver.
When it was revealed that the two-time world champion would end his stage with the Gauls, just a few hours later, they published that Oscar Piastri would be his replacement. Instead, the Australian, through a message on his social networks, insisted that he had never signed a contract with Alpine Formula 1, but rather with the academy.
The case ended in a judicial process that had to be resolved by the Contract Recognition Board [CRB], who agreed with McLaren, since the Australian already had a paper agreement with those from Woking before Enstone affirmed that it would be his driver for 2023. Due to this, in the British team, Daniel Ricciardo became a collateral victim, since he would lose his seat in favor of his compatriot.
Before the dispute of the Grand Prix of the Netherlands, the paddock learned the news of the dismissal of the former Red Bull and Renault , among others, and the long-awaited signing of Piastri was announced to be the partner of Lando Norris in the next course .
Even before knowing what will become of him in the last part of the season, since he still has to fulfill his contract with the Alpine academy, the young driver from Melbourne was present on the podcast that makes the Australian Grand Prix every so often time, and that’s where he explained how he got in touch with the part he’s going to replace.
“I was planning to get in touch with him, but with the schedule, he was in a race, and honestly, I didn’t know if he wanted to hear from me,” Piastri admitted about speaking to Ricciardo. “I was trying to think of what to say, but he beat me to it and he spoke to me. He was a true professional, my respect for him was always very high, and that respect has been increased even more by the way he has responded.”
“Having contact in that way has been fantastic for me, and I know there’s no hard feelings,” the new McLaren driver for 2023 said with relief. “That helps me a lot, and it was a very nice moment. If I can To come close to emulating the success he’s had on the track and the character he has off it, I think I’ll be doing a good job.”
Aware that he has a guaranteed seat at the Grand Circus for the next two courses, Piastri is very happy to be at McLaren : “This is something I’ve been working towards since I started racing 11 years ago, so knowing what future holds for me was a relief and a very, very happy moment.
“You’ve done it, but it’s almost like starting over, everything I’ve done so far in my career has been preparation for this moment,” Piastri said. “I’ve given some thought to the road to here, but I’m also aware that this is the beginning of the ‘true journey’.”
“That’s what I wanted to achieve, to be able to do that in Formula 1. It’s pretty hard to find a better day job than that, and I want to make sure it stays that way for a while,” said the Australian.
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