Australia’s Oscar Piastri, the most wanted man in Formula One, says he’s “extremely excited” to have landed a drive with British giants McLaren in next season’s championship.

McLaren won its contract battle with French rivals Alpine on Friday, enabling the team to announce 21-year-old Piastri will be the man to take over from fellow Aussie Daniel Ricciardo next season.

Ricciardo will leave McLaren after two largely disappointing years - but hopes are high that Melbourne’s Piastri will become the next Australian F1 superstar.

“I am super-excited to be joining the grid and with such a prestigious team like McLaren,” Piastri said on social media. “I have no doubt it’s a great place to start my career. It’s been a long road up until this point.”

The reigning Formula Two champion Piastri, who’s managed by former Australian F1 star Mark Webber, had gone public during the contract battle over his determination to join McLaren. 

He had been Alpine’s reserve driver but said he didn’t want to take up the place vacated by Fernando Alonso next season.

“The only contract to be recognised by the board is the contract between McLaren Racing Limited and Mr Piastri dated 4 July 2022,” governing body FIA said in a statement on Friday.

“Mr Piastri is entitled to drive for McLaren Racing Limited for the 2023 and 2024 seasons.”

“I’m focused on preparing for my F1 debut in 2023 and starting my F1 career in papaya.” “Oscar is an exciting addition to the McLaren family, and we look forward to seeing him grow with our F1 team.”