Otmar Szafnauer confirmed Alpine is looking to place Oscar Piastri in a Formula 1 seat for 2023, including outside its own team.
Esteban Ocon is contracted to drive for Alpine through to the end of 2024, while Fernando Alonso‘s one-year contract extension sees him to the end of this season. The two-times world champion has indicated he intends to continue racing in F1.
Asked whether he thought Piastri would be racing in Formula 1 next season, Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer said “yes”. However, he added the team’s options are open as to where that might be.
“We’re contracted with Oscar, we have some options on him so there’s no real need to hurry that,” said Szafnauer. “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.
Piastri has been tipped for a move to Williams in place of Nicholas Latifi, who has made little impression since arriving in F1 two seasons ago. Szafnauer played down rumours his conversation with Williams CEO Jost Capito in the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve paddock as nothing more than an informal chat between old Detroit neighbours.
Szafnauer would not be drawn on whether Piastri had signed any pre-contract agreements. “We don’t talk about the details of our contracts with the drivers, and that’s something that we never do. So as much as I’d like to tell you, I don’t think I can.”
While Szafnauer also declined to confirm rumours Piastri could replace Latifi before the current season is over, he reaffirmed Alpine’s intention is to make sure the driver has a seat next year. “What I do say [is] yes, that’s the plan.”
Piastri has an extensive testing programme with Alpine this year, alongside his reserve driver and simulator duties. He ran a test at Silverstone last week, which Szafnauer described as having gone “really well,” running Alonso’s chassis from 2021.
“Oscar’s a bright young talent coming through, as we all know and he’s been testing last year’s car,” Szafnauer explained. “At more than just Silverstone, he’s done a few others and we’ll do some more in the future. He’s doing very well.”
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