Oscar Piastri has signed a multi-year contract with McLaren, keeping him with the team till the end of the 2026 season.
The 22-year old Australian driver made his debut in Formula 1 this season, and although his first couple of runs looked doubtful and dry, he managed his first top three finish and has been scoring regular points since.
It looks like his stint will be similar to his teammate Lando Norris, who debuted in F1 with McLaren in 2019 and has been with the team since. With the new contract, Piastri will now stick with them till the end of the first season with the new engine regulations.
CEO Zak Brown lauded Piastri, with F1 quoting him saying:
"Oscar is already proving what he can do out on track and has been instrumental in the turn around we’ve had so far this season. He’s fit into the team brilliantly and is really valued by the whole McLaren Racing family. I’m excited to see how he continues to grow both on and off track."
Oscar Piastri proved his competitiveness with the drive he had in Singapore last weekend. Starting P17 because of a red flag during qualifying, the Australian was able to manage his pace well to finish P7. Piastri has scored 42 points this season and is 11th on the drivers' standings.
Oscar Piastri hopes to be at the front of the grid with McLaren
It is apparent that Oscar Piastri expects McLaren to be competitive after he snubbed Alpine and signed with the British team last season.
Alpine announced in 2022 that they were replacing Fernando Alonso with reserve driver Piastri for the 2023 season. However, the Australian later clarified that he had not signed a contract and would not continue with the team.
Even though Alpine were clearly better and ahead of McLaren in that season, Oscar Piastri went ahead and signed with the latter.
This move was questioned but with the performance that the team has shown in the recent races, it is safe to say that his signing was indeed, a good choice.
Speaking about the contract extension, he mentioned his wish to battle at the front with the team in the future. Piastri said:
"I am thrilled to be extending my partnership with McLaren for many years. I want to be fighting it out at the front of the grid with this team and I am excited by the vision and foundations that are already being laid to get us there."
With his teammate Norris' experience, Oscar Piastri will sure be learning a lot more to improve his racing further, and might as well turn out to be a good "asset" for the team, as team principal Andrea Stella and CEO Zak Brown marked.