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McLaren rookie Piastri ramps up 2023 prep as he hits the track in Barcelona

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ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 22: Oscar Piastri of Australia and McLaren looks on in

Oscar Piastri and McLaren have begun preparations for the 2023 season, with the Australian going behind the wheel of the Woking squad’s 2021 race car, the MCL35M, in a private test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Thursday.

The 2021 Formula 2 champion is gearing up for his debut campaign in Formula 1 – replacing compatriot Daniel Ricciardo at McLaren – after serving as a reserve driver for rivals Alpine during the 2022 season.

Piastri – who was also in attendance as the papaya team fired up their Mercedes engine earlier this week – previously completed 123 laps in McLaren’s 2022 car at the post-season young driver test at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi in December.

OSCAR’S AWARDS: The stunning stats behind Piastri’s stellar junior career as he gets set for F1 debut

Piastri also took part in a two-day test at the Circuit Paul Ricard in old spec machinery, as part of McLaren’s Testing of Previous Cars (TPC) programme, as he looks to get up to speed before the season-opening Grand Prix in Bahrain on March 5.

Piastri’s outing in the MCL35M comes a day after his team mate, Lando Norris, took the car for a spin, as the six-time podium-sitter prepares to enter his fifth season in Formula 1 and with McLaren.

READ MORE: Driver swaps and team boss switches – All the big moves you need to know about ahead of 2023 season

McLaren will be hoping the partnership of Piastri and Norris will bring them more success than in 2022 – when they finished fifth in the constructors’ championship – as they get set to unveil their 2023 challenger on February 13.

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