Alpine announced that Oscar Piastri will replace Fernando Alonso at the team in the 2023 season. The Australian, however, does not want to hear about the French team racing. The team at Enstone already has an alternative option.
Press / McLaren / In the photo: Daniel Ricciardo
Formula 1 has gone on holiday, but behind-the-scenes games are taking place in the offices of Alpine and McLaren bosses, which could produce interesting results. On Tuesday, the French team announced that Oscar Piastri will replace Fernando Alonso in the 2023 season. However, the young Australian has no intention of running for the team from Enstone. Most likely, this is due to the fact that Piastri signed an initial contract with McLaren.
The situation is interesting because McLaren has occupied both seats for the 2023 season. Lando Norris has recently signed a contract until the end of 2025, and Daniel Ricciardo’s contract only expires after the next campaign. However, the team from Woking are not satisfied with the behavior of the 33-year-old, who is out of step with Norris.
There is speculation in the F1 pad that McLaren will try to “push” Ricciardo into the American IndyCar series to make room for Piastri. Another option is to simply exchange with Alpine. It would be interesting because Ricciardo competed in the team from Enstone in 2019-2020, when he was still competing under the Renault name.
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Ricciardo left Renault because he felt that the team was not going in the right direction and that McLaren was a more attractive option for him for the future. In the current situation, will the team be ready to bring back the “prodigal son”? – Let’s take the example of Alonso. He also came and went with the band. It has happened, and it happens to many other drivers too. That’s why it’s not a problem at all, said Otmar Szafnauer, CEO of Alpine, to motorsport.com.
– We have a plan for the next 90 races. We need to make sure we complete this program with the best driver available on the market. We have several options, added Szafnauer.
It is now possible that Alpine will wage a legal battle with Piastri to force the Australian to represent the team in 2023. Formula 1 has seen such cases before. In 2005, Jenson Button was supposed to go to Williams, but because of the court battle he remained in the ranks of the BAR team.
I’ve been in F1 long enough to know how certain things can play out. It happens. Jenson signed with Williams and ended up staying at BAR and it wasn’t a problem. I know Oscar is not Jenson, but I hope we don’t have to go down that road. However, in that case it was also the case that the driver wanted to go somewhere else – summarizes Szafnauer.
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Racing Formula 1 McLaren Daniel Ricciardo Otmar Szafnauer Alpine Oscar Piastri