Alpine will decide about Oscar Piastri’s reserve driver role on Monday

Michelle Foster
Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer. Austria July 2022.

Otmar Szafnauer surveys the grid in front of the Alpine of Esteban Ocon. Austria July 2022.

Alpine team boss Otmar Szafnauer says he will make the call on Monday whether to continue with Oscar Piastri as the team’s reserve driver for the remainder of the season.

After weeks of speculation, F1’s Contract Recognition Board announced on Friday only McLaren had a valid contract with the 21-year-old for next year’s championship.

Soon after, McLaren confirmed him as Lando Norris’ 2023 team-mate, Piastri having signed a multi-year deal with the Woking team on July 4.

But with Piastri off to a rival team, Szafnauer has yet to decide if Alpine will continue using him as their reserve driver.

“He will continue this weekend. There’s only a couple of days left, today and tomorrow. Then on Monday we’ll get together with him and decide how we go forward,” Szafnauer said in Saturday’s team boss press conference at the Zandvoort circuit.

“We’ll decide on Monday. I don’t want to think about it here because there are more considerations to be had.”

Hours earlier, Piastri had spoken to the official F1 website about that, the driver saying he is “happy to carry out those duties still, but it’s a discussion we need to have between myself and the team – we’ll see how that looks”.

Piastri is also McLaren‘s reserve driver, Alpine offering his services to the team at the start of the season when Daniel Ricciardo fell ill with Covid-19 and was in doubt for the season-opening race.

As for Friday’s ruling by the CRB that only McLaren had a contract with the driver for next season, Szafnauer said: “There were good arguments from both sides.

“Walking out [of the hearing] I thought it was about 50-50. I would have accepted it either way.

“I want to thank the Contract Recognition Board for listening to both sides. We accept this decision.”

Why McLaren have gambled millions on Oscar Piastri success

Alpine have been hit with the full costs of the hearing, including having to pay McLaren and Piastri’s costs.

The 58-year-old says Alpine did everything they could to progress Piastri’s career, even talking with Williams about putting him in the car next season.

“With Oscar we did everything possible. We made him do more than 3,000km with last year’s car and we made him reserve driver,” he said.

“We had conversations with Williams for Piastri in a 2023 seat. They progressed, but they never came to a conclusion.”