Alpine announce Piastri, but uncertainty remains

Michelle Foster
Oscar Piastri, Alpine, smiles. United States, May 2022.

Alpine reserve driver Oscar Piastri smiles in Miami. United States, May 2022.

Having bided his time on the sidelines for a season, Oscar Piastri will be a Formula 1 driver in 2023 as he has been confirmed by Alpine as Esteban Ocon’s team-mate.

Despite proving a prolific talent in the junior series, winning three championship titles in three years – 2019 to 2021 with that run culminating in his Formula 3 championship success – Piastri found himself a victim of Formula 1’s lack of seats.

The Alpine junior was blocked from a promotion to Formula 1 in 2022, the Enstone team already having signed Ocon and Fernando Alonso. He had to settle for a reserve driver role, the Australian watching on from the sidelines.

Alpine were adamant his time would come, and come it has after Alonso opened the door for the 21-year-old when he announced he is off to Aston Martin to replace Sebastian Vettel.

It did not take Alpine long to confirm Piastri’s promotion to a Formula 1 race driver.

Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer said: “Oscar is a bright are rare talent. We are proud to have nurtured and supported him through the difficult pathways of the junior formulae.

“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.

“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.”

Piastri will join his compatriot Daniel Ricciardo on the 2023 grid, Formula 1 having two Australian drivers competing for the first time since Mark Webber retired at the end of the 2013 campaign.

Piastri will team up with Ocon, the Frenchman having signed a long-term deal with the team, one that will keep him at the Enstone team through to the end of 2024.

The 21-year-old is looking to become the first Australian since Alan Jones in 1980 to win the Drivers’ Championship title. Before Jones, only Jack Brabham had won it for the nation, doing so in 1959, 1960 and again in 1966.

By making the announcement, Alpine are clearly confident there is nothing standing in their way following reports that Piastri’s manager Mark Webber had been sounding out the possibilities at McLaren for 2023.

But there is a sense we may not have heard the last of this just yet…


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