Alpine on Tuesday announced reigning F2 champion Oscar Piastri is set to replace Fernando Alonso for 2023. Alonso himself declared on Monday that he will be driving for Aston Martin in 2023 and his contract with Alpine had not been renewed.
Yet a couple of hours after Alpine’s announcement, Piastri took to twitter to claim that Alpine F1 had put out the press release without his agreement, and that he will not be driving for the team in 2023! And the F1 world has been abuzz since (…cue the drama…).
I understand that, without my agreement, Alpine F1 have put out a press release late this afternoon that I am driving for them next year. This is wrong and I have not signed a contract with Alpine for 2023. I will not be driving for Alpine next year.
— Oscar Piastri (@OscarPiastri) August 2, 2022
It has been a rather tough start to Alpine’s summer break, with them getting to know about Alonso’s exit only along with the rest of the world. Otmar Szafnauer (team principal, Alpine) went on to say Aston Martin’s press release was the first he had learnt of the development.
Come the next day, the team was thrown back into controversy as their reserve driver claimed to not have signed for the vacant F1 seat.
2023 driver line-up confirmed: Esteban Ocon 🤝 Oscar Piastri
After four years as part of the Renault and Alpine family, Reserve Driver Oscar Piastri is promoted to a race seat alongside Esteban Ocon starting from 2023. pic.twitter.com/4Fvy0kaPn7
— BWT Alpine F1 Team (@AlpineF1Team) August 2, 2022
In a span of 36 hours, two great racing talents had slipped out of Alpine’s driver pool!
Where could Oscar Piastri end up?
As surprising as it might sound, word is in the air that he is set to replace a poorly performing Daniel Ricciardo at McLaren. It was revealed earlier this season that McLaren has a contract with Alpine where Piastri is also the reserve driver for the Woking-based team. So, if Alpine is not on the cards for the Australian, it is imperative McLaren could be his next drive.
(A Norris-Piastri line-up would be phenomenal for McLaren, by the way.)
Where would that leave Ricciardo then? Even though both he and McLaren CEO Zak Brown have said Piastri’s fellow countryman has a contract until the end of 2023, Brown also previously iterated on the presence of an exit clause in said contract.
Daniel could then potentially end up with the 2nd Haas seat, one of the Williams seats, or in the worst case, out of this sport in Formula E. Him returning back with Alpine is quite unlikely, given the obscure terms with which he exited the team in 2020. Then again, it’s called the F1 silly season for a reason!
As of writing, both Oscar Piastri and Alpine F1 claim their ground; even the team has not deleted their announcement. It remains to be seen where Piastri ends up amongst this storm, and who in fact ends up with that final Alpine seat.