British F4 graduate Oscar Piastri confirms McLaren F1 seat
McLaren Racing have confirmed ROKiT F4 British Championship certified by FIA graduate Oscar Piastri as a driver for the 2023 FIA Formula 1 World Championship.
Piastri joined Britain’s FIA Formula 4 series, a globally-recognised entry point for aspiring motorsport stars, aged 16 years old to contest his first season of single seater racing with Arden Motorsport, finishing runner-up to eventual champion Jamie Caroline.
Along the way, the Australian scored six victories, a further nine podiums and six pole positions, setting him up for further title success in Formula Renault, FIA Formula 3 and, most recently, FIA Formula 2 on the path to Formula 1.
The 21-year-old had served as Alpine F1’s reserve driver in 2022, but ended his association with the French manufacturer to join McLaren, one of Britain’s foremost names at the pinnacle of motorsport. Perhaps somewhat ironically, Piastri’s team-mate will be the other ROKiT British F4 graduate to make it to F1, 2015 champion Lando Norris.
“I’m extremely excited to be making my F1 debut with such a prestigious team as McLaren and I’m very grateful for the opportunity that’s been offered to me,” said Piastri on the move.
“The team has a long tradition of giving young talent a chance, and I’m looking forward to working hard alongside Lando to push the team towards the front of the grid. I’m focused on preparing for my F1 debut in 2023 and starting my F1 career in papaya.”
McLaren already has a presence in ROKiT British F4 through its young driver Ugo Ugochukwu, currently third in the championship and racing for Carlin. McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown even attended Brands Hatch earlier in the season to pay his protégé a visit, and was rewarded with the American’s debut victory in tricky damp-but-drying conditions.
Brown believes the acquisition of Piastri cements McLaren’s future ambitions, with the Woking-based team striving to return to world championship contention at the sport’s top table.
“Oscar is one of the up-and-coming talents coming through the feeder series into F1 and we are delighted to see him join the team for 2023,” said Brown.
“Winning both F3 and F2 in successive rookie seasons is a real achievement and testament to his talent in single-seater racing. In Lando and Oscar we have a young, exciting F1 line-up with a huge amount of potential, standing us in good stead to achieve our future ambitions. Oscar is an exciting addition to the McLaren family, and we look forward to seeing him grow with our F1 team.”
The 2023 F1 calendar is yet to be formally ratified by the FIA, but Piastri can expect to make his Grand Prix debut in the spring.