Oscar Piastri drama: William Storey has his say on Alpine saga

Michelle Foster
Oscar Piastri standing on the grid with the Alpine team. Canada June 2022

Reserve driver Oscar Piastri standing on the grid with the Alpine team. Canada June 2022

Never let it be said that William Storey won’t jump at the opportunity to criticise the goings-on in Formula 1, even finding a way to insult Haas in the process of weighing in on Oscar Piastri.

The saga involving the Australian that began to evolve on Tuesday opened the door for the Rich Energy founder to do just that.

Losing Fernando Alonso to Aston Martin, Alpine announced on Tuesday afternoon that reserve driver Piastri would be stepping up and partnering Esteban Ocon next season.

“As our reserve driver,” said team principal Otmar Szafnauer, “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.”

However, hours later Piastri rejected Alpine, making it clear he won’t be with the team next season.

He took to social media to say: “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.

“This is wrong and I have not signed a contract with Alpine for 2023. I will not be driving for Alpine next year.”

Storey says Piastri is a “total ingrate” who has shown as much loyalty as the Haas F1 team shows.

He tweeted: “A driver who was gifted a place in the Alpine F1 team driver academy and a feted reserve driver seat now treats his benefactors with contempt after doing a deal with Porky Brown.

“A total ingrate.

“He would be perfectly suited at Haas F1 team; disloyal and poor judgement.”

Piastri has been backed by Alpine’s junior academy since January 2020, winning the Formula 3 Championship that season and following that up with Formula 2 success a year later.

He had hoped that would give him automatic promotion to Formula 1 but with Alpine already having Alonso and Esteban Ocon on the books, he has had to spend this season on the sidelines as a reserve driver.

The team promised he would still drive and have delivered on that, putting him in the car at several tests while also planning an FP1 run at either Spa or Monza.

It is thought that Piastri has turned down Alpine after signing a letter of intent with McLaren where he would replace the beleaguered Daniel Ricciardo.