McLaren have ‘multiple options’ for 2023, not just Oscar Piastri

Mark Scott
Oscar Piastri in the Alpine garage. Abu Dhabi test December 2021.

Alpine reserve driver Oscar Piastri stands in the garage between runs at the post-season test. Abu Dhabi December 2021.

McLaren are continuing to play the field with regards to their 2023 line-up as CEO Zak Brown stated the team still have “multiple options” to choose from.

A series of big announcements over the course of the last month have led us to McLaren needing to find a new team-mate for Lando Norris.

Sebastian Vettel’s confirmation that will he will be retiring at the end of the 2022 season triggered a shock move from Fernando Alonso, who will be leaving Alpine to take Vettel’s vacant spot at Aston Martin.

That prompted Alpine to announce reserve and development driver Oscar Piastri for 2023 alongside Esteban Ocon, only for Piastri himself to take to social media shortly to refute that claim and also state he would not be driving for the team at all next year.

Those actions were because Piastri reportedly had already agreed a deal to replace Daniel Ricciardo, who will be leaving McLaren at the end of the season – one year before his current contract was due to officially expire.

The tug-of-war between Alpine and McLaren over Piastri has continued this week with both teams present at the FIA’s Contract Recognition Board. The verdict is due to be released within the next 24 hours.

However, with Piastri seemingly McLaren’s No.1 target for 2023, they are still not putting all their proverbial eggs in his basket.

“We have multiple plans,” Brown told SpeedCity Broadcasting.

“There is a CRB meeting which has been reported on – I think we’ll be better placed to comment on it post the meeting.

“We’ve got a variety of options and of course that’s clearly one of them or we wouldn’t be in that meeting. Let’s just see how it plays out and then we will go from there.”

Brown joked that he tried to put himself on McLaren’s ever-expanding list of drivers, but did properly namecheck the likes of Colton Herta, who has also now emerged as a target for AlphaTauri if they released Pierre Gasly to Alpine, Pato O’Ward and Alex Palou, another driver at the centre of a contract dispute involving McLaren.

He continued: “I tried to put myself in the seat but Andreas shot that down, so that’s the only driver that we’ve ruled out so far!

“We have our testing program, Colton Herta did an excellent job, Pato was in the car at the end of last year, he did an excellent job.

“Off course, we’ve got our situation with Alex going on in the States, we’ll see how that plays out but we certainly intend to put him in our Formula 1 car, so all those drivers have won a lot of races in a very competitive championship.

“I hold IndyCar at the very highest level of motorsport, so I think we’ve got a handful of different options and we’ll just take one day at a time.”