Oscar Piastri has reportedly already got his McLaren career underway by the way of taking part in ‘secret’ testing at the French Grand Prix, according to French outlet Auto Hebdo.
Piastri made headlines earlier this season when he hit back at Alpine after the team announced that he would be racing for them after the departure of Fernando Alonso to Aston Martin.
Piastri is technically still part of the Alpine team and serves as their reserve driver, but it is public knowledge that he will not be featuring for them next term.
While Alpine had announced his promotion to a full-time role on Twitter, Piastri quickly clarified that the future would look quite different compared to the picture being painted by the Enstone-based team.
It was soon discovered that Piastri had been in negotiations with McLaren over fellow countryman Daniel Ricciardo’s seat after the former Red Bull and Renault driver had failed to make an impression alongside Lando Norris.
Was Piastri allowed to conduct this test by Alpine?
In light of this, Szafnauer was asked if he would allow Piastri to terminate his contract early and join McLaren ahead of the 2023 season.
“I don’t want to think about it yet because there’s more considerations to be had,” Szafnauer said.
This sentiment was recently echoed by McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl, who claimed that there was “no update” on Piastri joining their team early.
“No, there’s no update. But I will tell you first as soon as I have an update,” said Seidl.
While they have not stirred the pot as far as media interactions are concerned, it is obvious that there is some friction between the two teams.
Piastri is believed to have conducted his secret tests at the Paul Ricard circuit last Wednesday and then on the full track last Thursday.
Auto Hebdo may have leaked this information, but McLaren is yet to confirm these reports.
“McLaren has not issued any official communications about the test,” Auto Hebdo correspondent Jeremy Satis said.