Alpine had announced they had promoted Oscar Piastri to replace Fernando Alonso – but Piastri says press release wasn’t agreed by him and adds: “I will not be driving for Alpine next year”; Piastri has been linked heavily with McLaren, with Daniel Ricciardo’s future in doubt
Last Updated: 02/08/22 7:51pm
Oscar Piastri has refuted Alpine’s claim that they have signed him for Formula 1 2023 and insists – in a dramatic twist to the sport’s transfer ‘silly season’ – that he will be driving elsewhere instead.
Alpine had said that Piastri, who is currently their reserve driver, was being promoted to replace Fernando Alonso.
The press release had no quotes from Piastri, fuelling talk that the highly-rated Australian had not been consulted.
Hours later on Tuesday evening, Piastri posted on social media to say that Alpine did not have his permission to confirm his signing and, incredibly, that he will not drive for the French outfit who have moulded his career.
“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,” said Piastri.
“This is wrong and I have not signed a contract with Alpine for 2023. I will not be driving for Alpine next year.”
There is intense speculation that Piastri will instead drive for McLaren for 2023, with the Woking team having been in contact with the 21-year-old before Alpine knew they had a seat available.
Alpine, however, believe Piastri has a contractual obligation to drive for them next year.
Sky Sports News have been told that the deadline for Piastri’s clause to be activated and confirm him as an Alpine driver expired two days ago, on July 31st – but this is unconfirmed by Alpine.
Williams and McLaren have been interested in Piastri if the circumstances were right, but only the former can currently make a move for him – with Nicholas Latifi’s deal yet to be renewed.
Why has Piastri turned Alpine down, and what now?
When Alonso’s surprising move to Aston Martin was confirmed on Monday, Alpine quickly turned their attention to Piastri – although earlier on Tuesday morning team boss Otmar Szafnauer admitted there was no agreement.
Soon after, Alpine’s announcement said Piastri would drive for them from ‘2023 onwards’ to partner Esteban Ocon.
But Piastri has other plans, and his bombshell represented a remarkable turn of events in the driver market.
Piastri has been part of the Renault junior academy for four years, during which time he has won both the Formula Three and Formula Two titles, following in the esteemed footsteps of Charles Leclerc and George Russell.
He missed out on a seat for 2022 and instead became Alpine’s reserve driver, although his reputation is such that he seemingly has a number of teams battling for his signature without ever having raced in F1.
Williams are in the hunt, while if Piastri does make the switch to McLaren, that would put Daniel Ricciardo’s future in huge doubt.
Ricciardo has underperformed since joining McLaren in 2021 and, while he insists he will see out his contract until the end of 2023, McLaren have hinted of having ‘options’ to get out early.
If Ricciardo did lose his seat, he could make an unexpected return to the Renault family. Ricciardo joined McLaren from Renault, before the team took the name of niche performance sub-brand Alpine.