Piastri up and running in secret McLaren test

Oscar Piastri has got his career with McLaren up and running in France.

Auto Hebdo, a specialist French car magazine, claims the 21-year-old Australian privately tested a McLaren at Paul Ricard last Wednesday and Thursday.

Earlier this year, Piastri was the subject of an intense legal dispute between Alpine and McLaren, with McLaren inking a race deal for 2023 with the rookie and Renault-owned Alpine claiming he already had a contract.

McLaren won the dispute at the contract recognition board and will be Lando Norris’ teammate next year, replacing Daniel Ricciardo.

“I don’t want to think about it yet because there’s more considerations to be had,” Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer said recently when asked if Piastri would be given an early release to McLaren.

McLaren boss Andreas Seidl said at the same time: “No, there’s no update. But I will tell you first as soon as I have an update.”

No update, however, was forthcoming, although Auto Hebdo claims to have got in touch with both teams – with no responses forthcoming yet.

The magazine said Piastri’s first McLaren runs on Wednesday were on Paul Ricard’s short 3.6 kilometre layout, before he drove the full circuit on Thursday prior to rain.

“McLaren has not issued any official communications about the test,” correspondent Jeremy Satis said.

That is almost certainly because Piastri is still under contract to Alpine, meaning he was forced to wear McLaren overalls with the sponsor logos removed for his maiden test.

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