Alpine make Piastri a stand-in option for McLaren

Frank Parker
Oscar Piastri arms crossed watching from the sidelines in testing. Barcelona February 2022

Alpine have agreed to let McLaren field their reserve driver Oscar Piastri in the Bahrain Grand Prix if Daniel Ricciardo is unable to race.

Ricciardo has had to sit out the entire pre-season test at Bahrain due to falling ill and testing positive for COVID-19. As a result, Lando Norris has been on sole testing duties for McLaren.

The Australian McLaren driver is currently in isolation and will be ready to emerge next Thursday as per local guidelines. However, should Ricciardo continue to test positive, he would of course be unable to take part in the opening round of the 2022 season.

Alpine have agreed to allow their reserve driver Piastri to deputise for Ricciardo should McLaren require it.

An Alpine team statement said: “In the spirit of offering maximum racing opportunities to our stable of young talent, we have agreed McLaren may call upon BWT Alpine F1 team reserve driver Oscar Piastri in the event one of their drivers is unable to race.

“Oscar will remain fully contracted to Alpine and we will retain first options on his services.”

McLaren already have an agreement in place to utilise Mercedes reserve drivers Nyck de Vries and Stoffel Vandoorne should it be required.

Team principal Andreas Seidl had previously stated what would happen should Ricciardo be unable to compete in Bahrain next week.

“That’s where an agreement with Mercedes kicks in [and] either De Vries or Vandoorne would sit in the car,” said Seidl.

With Vandoorne at the 1000 Miles of Sebring next week in the World Endurance Championship, De Vries would be the likely candidate to deputise for Ricciardo. However, the offer of Piastri now gives the team more options.

 

Piastri joined the Renault Sport Academy in January 2020, a reward after becoming Formula 3 champion in the same year.

The Australian continued in the rebranded Alpine Academy and has been made official reserve driver for Alpine in 2022.

 

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