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Oscar Piastri: McLaren rookie insists 'no extra pressure' ahead of Formula 1 2023 after Alpine 'drama'

Oscar Piastri is making his debut with McLaren this season from Alpine after a transfer saga last summer; Piastri partners Lando Norris in 2023; pre-season testing live on Sky Sports F1 from February 23-25 before season-opening Bahrain GP on March 5

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Oscar Piastri says he's focused on life at McLaren and is ready to get stuck in after Monday's 2023 car launch

McLaren's Oscar Piastri has admitted "there'll be some rust" during his rookie Formula 1 season after not racing for over a year but insists he isn't feeling extra pressure following his contentious move from Alpine.

The 21-year-old was Alpine's reserve driver in 2022, but this season he will partner Lando Norris at McLaren after replacing the underperforming Daniel Ricciardo.

Piastri comes into F1 with a lot of expectation after being the first driver to win Formula Renault (2019), Formula 3 (2020) and Formula 2 (2021) in consecutive years.

At McLaren's car launch, Piastri told Sky Sports News: "I think for the beginning of the year, my first in F1, a new team for me, and I haven't raced for over a year, there'll be some rust.

"I just need to focus on myself and work with my team to try and get back up to speed as quickly as possible, because there's just some things without racing that you can't really train."

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McLaren have revealed their new MCL60 for the 2023 F1 season

The Australian controversially signed for McLaren after rejecting a promotion at Alpine, with a court hearing - ruled in his favour - required to confirm the process had been legal.

But five months later, Piastri feels unscathed from what happened and now prepares to race alongside Norris, who has quickly established himself as one of F1's top drivers.

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"No extra pressure," added Piastri. "Coming into F1 from previous results in junior categories, there's going to be expectation.

"While the drama created a lot of attention, it has nothing to do with my driving. Results create the expectation. I don't think that adds anything - I'm going into the season pretty comfortable.

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"Once facts came out it was all clear I hadn't done anything wrong. Time is a healer."

Piastri's response to Alpine originally announcing him as their 2023 driver quickly divided opinion, but the McLaren hierarchy were full of praise for how he acted throughout.

CEO Zak Brown told Sky Sports News: "Impressed with how he handled himself under pressure and amid unfair and inaccurate accusations.

"Thought the way he conducted himself showed how mature, focused and calm he is. Since then, that's what I've continued to see. On NYE he's just chilling out thinking about racing."

Pre-season testing is on February 23-25 in Bahrain before the season begins at the same track with the Bahrain GP on March 5. Testing as well as every practice, qualifying and race session will be live on Sky Sports F1.

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