Alpine have this morning announced the signing of Oscar Piastri for the 2023 season, only for the driver to take to social media to deny the claims. With the surprise move of Fernando Alonso to Aston Martin next year, it was widely assumed the Australian driver would fill the open seat, with Alpine apparently also falling victim to these assumptions.
Alpine announced the signing this morning through a statement appearing to confirm the 21-year-old’s full-time drive.
“BWT Alpine F1 Team confirms 21-year-old reserve driver Oscar Piastri as Esteban Ocon’s teammate starting from 2023,” the statement began.
“In line with the commitments made by the team to the young Australian, Oscar will be promoted to race driver and step in Fernando Alonso’s seat from next year onwards.”
Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer shared his excitement of having the promising youngster racing for his outfit, describing him as a mature driver who deserves to be in Formula 1.
“Through our collaboration over the past four years, we have seen him develop and mature into a driver who is more than capable of taking the step up to Formula 1,” Szafnaur began.
“As our reserve driver he has been exposed to the team at the track, factory and testing where he has shown the maturity, promise and speed to ensure his promotion to our second seat alongside Esteban. Together, we believe the duo will give us the continuity we need to achieve our long-term goal of challenging for wins and championships.”
This was not to be, with Piastri taking to social media channels shortly after to deny that he had signed to continued to work for the outfit.
“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,” his Facebook post begun.
“This is wrong and I have not signed a contract with Alpine for 2023. I will not be driving for Alpine in 2023,” he said, refuting the claims by Alpine they had secured his signing.
Currently the reserve driver for the outfit, Piastri has also been linked to a drive for Williams this mid-season to replace a struggling Nicholas Latifi. However, still currently under contract to Alpine it was thought that this would be in a loan-like capacity, allowing him to gain race experience until the French manufacturer called upon his services.
Williams are one of the teams without confirmed driver lineups for 2023, with Latifi currently unsigned and Alexander Albon having a clause which could see him return to Red Bull should they desire. Whilst the Red Bull team has secured the service of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez for the next two seasons, Yuki Tsunoda remains un-contracted to their second, Alpha Tauri team.
With Honda signing on to continue supplying powertrains to Red Bull for the next several seasons, it is speculated Japanese driver Tsunoda will remain in F1 due to affiliations with the Japanese powertrain provider. This potentially means Albon will remain at Williams, with only the seat of Latifi available.
Alfa Romeo could be another outfit to call on the services of Piastri, yet have signed Valterri Bottas previously for 2023. It would be a harsh move to remove Zhou Guanyu after only his rookie year, meaning this route may not be an open one.
Mercedes, Ferrari, Aston Martin and McLaren join Red Bull as having confirmed driver lineups for 2023, meaning Haas is one of the few options open for Piastri. With Kevin Magnussen under contract on a multi-year deal, replacing Mick Schumacher with Piastri would be seen as controversial due to improved performances and the popularity of the German driver.
From this, Williams appears the most likely destination for Piastri, should he desire to compete in Formula 1 in 2023. Overseas options, however, do remain an option, with many former F2 drivers competing in the likes of Formula-E, the WEC and IndyCar.