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Alpine agrees to early F1 contract exit for Piastri

The Alpine Formula 1 team has agreed to end its contract with Oscar Piastri, allowing the Australian to make an early start his relationship with McLaren.

Oscar Piastri, Reserve Driver, Alpine F1 Team

The two teams have been discussing Piastri's contractual situation since he was announced as a 2023 McLaren driver in the summer.

Given the animosity surrounding Piastri's move to the Woking outfit, Alpine initially appeared reluctant to do anything that might help him get a head-start with his new team, with discussions dragging on for several weeks

However, the first sign that there had been progress came when it emerged that Piastri recently spent two days at Paul Ricard at the wheel of last year's MCL35M, the car previously used to give some initial F1 mileage to Colton Herta, Alex Palou and Pato O'Ward.

McLaren has thus far given no details of the Paul Ricard test, other than simply confirming that it took place.

A final agreement with Alpine to formally release Piastri before the end of the calendar year has now been reached and he is set to make his first public appearance with McLaren in the current MCL36 at the young driver test on the Tuesday after the Abu Dhabi GP.

It's understood that he won't be taking part in FP1 on the Abu Dhabi race weekend, as that falls within this racing season.

In any case, McLaren has a previous commitment to run O'Ward in that session, having given Palou an outing in Austin.

Alex Palou, McLaren MCL36

Alex Palou, McLaren MCL36

Photo by: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Images

Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer confirmed to Motorsport.com that a deal had been reached, and that Piastri was free to take part in the Abu Dhabi test.

"There was a negotiation on an agreement as to how to part ways," said Szafnauer.

"We're drawing a line under it. Once this season ends, he's free to go and do whatever he wants to do."

Asked about the Paul Ricard test he said: "All that was part of it."

Szafnauer and McLaren boss Andreas Seidl are expected to comment further on the Piastri situation in Saturday's FIA press conference in Brazil.

As previously reported Piastri won't be the only driver sampling his new team at the combined Abu Dhabi rookie and tyre test, with Fernando Alonso set to drive for Aston Martin, Pierre Gasly at Alpine, and Nyck de Vries at AlphaTauri.

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