New details have emerged about Oscar Piastri's contract with McLaren that would make things even more interesting.
According to a recent report by ESPN Brazil, Piastri has signed with the Woking-based outfit to be a reserve driver for the 2023 F1 season. This will also place him next in line to replace Daniel Ricciardo for the 2024 F1 season.
According to the report, the only way McLaren can get out of contract with Ricciardo for the 2023 F1 season is by paying him multiple million dollars as step aside money (which looks improbable). The report also suggested that Williams is another option for Oscar Piastri, but there hasn't been much progress on that part. The report stated:
“A source told ESPN that the Australian’s deal with McLaren said he would be a reserve in 2023, taking over from fellow countryman Daniel Ricciardo in 2024. McLaren, meanwhile, will have to pay a million-dollar release clause if it wants to terminate Ricciardo before the end of 2023.”
“In the current season, Piastri has also been linked to Nicholas Latifi’s seat at Williams. However, negotiations between the parties have not progressed.”
This makes things rather interesting because on the surface, it does not make sense for the Australian driver to ditch a race seat in favor of another year as a reserve driver. This, however, also shows that there is a likelihood that both McLaren and Oscar Piastri are waiting for the cards to fall into place i.e. for Daniel Ricciardo to sign with Alpine and free up space in the British team.
This looks like a long game of chess that is currently being played out and it will be interesting to see which pieces fit where in all of this.
Why is Oscar Piastri sought after by multiple teams?
Recent events in the F1 world might have some fans wondering why Oscar Piastri's name has been doing so many rounds during the silly season. Others will be wondering why two of the leading F1 teams are after this Australian who has not even participated in an FP1 session. The answer to that lies in the kind of pedigree that Piastri has already shown in the junior category.
Piastri has won three championships in his last three years of racing and has been one of the standout talents in every championship he has raced in. He won the Formula Renault Eurocup in 2019, the F3 Championship in 2020, and finally the F2 championship in 2021. All of them as a rookie! The driver has had a stellar track record and has been exceptional in the way he has run through the championships he has been a part of.
It was this talent that made everyone take notice of the Australian and if it wasn't for Fernando Alonso being part of the team, Oscar Piastri would have already made his debut this season. In the eyes of many teams and experts, Piastri might just be the next big talent that could be debuting in F1 and hence the teams are trying to get a hold of him.