Piastri set to be given Alpine FP1 drive in France

Sam Cooper
Oscar Piastri wearing headphones. Montreal, June 2022.

Alpine's Oscar Piastri wearing headphones on the grid before the Canadian Grand Prix. Montreal, June 2022.

Oscar Piastri will reportedly get his first taste of F1 action at the French Grand Prix during the first practice session.

From this season onwards, teams have been made to give rookie drivers who have not participated in more than two F1 races in their career, a seat for two of the FP1 sessions.

We saw the first of those in Barcelona with Juri Vips stepping into Sergio Perez’s Red Bull while Nyck de Vries got his first taste of an F1 session in Alex Albon’s Williams.

The directive was introduced to give the next generation a taste of what F1 is like and a highly rated prospect that is rumoured to be getting the next chance is Oscar Piastri.

Autosport are reporting that Alpine, who Piastri is a reserve driver for, will drive in FP1 of the French Grand Prix.

The timing makes sense considering Alpine plan to bring an upgrade package to the next race in Silverstone and the following Grand Prix in Austria includes a Sprint race.

Team boss Otmar Szafnauer was pressed on when we might see Piastri behind the wheel and while he did not give an exact race, he said it would be “soon.”

“We can tell you it won’t be Silverstone,” Szafnauer said as reported by Autosport. “But it’s not far off. The answer is we plan to put him in the car. It won’t be that far off, but we haven’t announced it yet.

“Oscar’s a bright young talent coming through, as we all know.

“We’re contracted with Oscar and we have some options on him. So, there’s no real need to hurry that, so we’ll take our time and at the right moment, within the silly season, we’ll have a look around and make those types of decisions.”

“And he’s been testing last year’s car. At more than just Silverstone. He’s done a few others and will do some more in the future. And he’s doing very well.

Piastri is widely rumoured to be taking one of the two Williams seats for the 2023 season with Nicholas Latifi’s future in the sport looking doubtful.

Speaking at the Canadian Grand Prix, Szafnauer was asked if he believed Piastri would be on the grid for 2023 and he confirmed he did.

“We don’t talk about the details of our contracts with the drivers and that’s something that we never do,” Szafnauer said. “So as much as I’d like to tell you, I don’t think I can.

“But when I do say yes, that’s the plan.”

If Piastri were to join Williams, he would remain part of the Alpine team as well, similar to Alex Albon’s ties to Red Bull and George Russell’s ties to Mercedes before him.


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