‘Iconic’: Oscar Piastri extends McLaren deal to 2026, throws ‘shade’

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Aussie F1 driver Oscar Piastri has signed a brand new contract with McLaren with the 22-year-old extending his deal until 2026.

The young Aussie has impressed in his first season in Formula One, coming into his own after a difficult start to the season.

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Piastri secured his first points in Melbourne but scored points in just two of his first nine races, but has since tallied points in five of his last six races to move to 11th in the driver’s championship where he has already tallied more points than Daniel Ricciardo did last season.

But while he signed on the dotted line, Piastri couldn’t help but poke some fun at the saga which dominated the end of last year.

Piastri ultimately took the seat of Ricciardo, who had another year to run on his McLaren deal.

Piastri was signed to Alpine last year and when Fernando Alonso shocked the F1 to reveal he was joining Aston Martin, Alpine announced the Aussie was set to take over the seat.

But Piastri declined, sending the F1 world into anarchy and both Alpine and McLaren into a messy contract drama which was sorted by the FIA’s Contract Recognition Board, who found he had no signed deal with the French outfit.

Ricciardo was collateral damage as McLaren paid him out — a reported $24m deal — to mutually agree to end his contract.

In the end, after a messy entry into the seat, Piastri was in the McLaren seat, while Ricciardo landed on his feet, signing as Red Bull’s reserve driver and ultimately getting a seat with AlphaTauri, until he broke his hand in a crash at the Dutch Grand Prix.

Clearly signing the contract was a lot easier this time, with Piastri taking to Twitter, writing: “Stress-free contract announcement like always.”

Piastri’s dry wit was appreciated by his fans.

One fan tweeted: “Oh my god the SHADE”.

Another wrote: “Iconic as always Oscar is.”

Another posted: “The only thing that could make this tweet better is if you sent it from the Alpine National Park in country Victoria …”

Piastri also tried a misdirect in his announcement video from McLaren, releasing a video where he ran through his personal highlights.

But he then added: “So I’m wishing it could go on for years to come …” he said before swallowing poignantly.

“ … which makes me very happy to say that it will be going on for years to come. I’ll be extending with McLaren until the end of 2026 so I’ve got three more years after this year in papaya.”

Maybe he should stick to pinpoint tweets though.

After F1 icon Martin Brundle bailed halfway through the Aussie’s answer on his gridwalk before Sunday’s race to say happy birthday to Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, Piastri posted: “Shall we finish that interview in Suzuka @MBrundleF1?”

Nailed it.

Piastri’s highlights have included a fourth placed finish at the British Grand Prix and a second-place showing in the sprint race at the Belgian Grand Prix.

He will now continue alongside British racer Lando Norris at McLaren until at least the end of 2025, which is when Norris’ deal will end.

“I am thrilled to be extending my partnership with McLaren for many years,” Piastri said.

“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.”

McLaren chief executive Zak Brown said: “I’m delighted to be continuing our partnership with Oscar through to the end of 2026.

“He’s an incredible talent and an asset to the team so it’s fantastic to be committing to each other in the long term.”

With AFP

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