Alpine today announced Oscar Piastri as Fernando Alonso's replacement for the 2023 F1 season. The French team took to social media to make the announcement, ending speculations of other drivers like Daniel Ricciardo joining the team.
In their social media post, Alpine stated:
“2023 driver line-up confirmed: Esteban Ocon Oscar Piastri, After four years as part of the Renault and Alpine family, Reserve Driver Oscar Piastri is promoted to a race seat alongside Esteban Ocon starting from 2023.”
Oscar Piastri has had a stellar junior career as he's won both the F2 and F3 championships in consecutive years, something that was last done by drivers like George Russell and Charles Leclerc. The Australian was Alpine's reserve driver as the two racing seats were occupied by Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon. The seat for Piastri opened up when Alonso decided to move to Aston Martin for the 2023 F1 season, leaving a seat vacant at the French squad.
While justifying his move from Alpine to Aston Martin, Alonso said:
“This Aston Martin team is clearly applying the energy and commitment to win, and it is therefore one of the most exciting teams in Formula One today. I have known Lawrence [Stroll] and Lance [Stroll] for many years and it is very obvious that they have the ambition and passion to succeed in Formula One.’’
The two-time world champion further said:
“I have watched as the team has systematically attracted great people with winning pedigrees, and I have become aware of the huge commitment to new facilities and resources at Silverstone. No one in Formula One today is demonstrating a greater vision and absolute commitment to winning, and that makes it a really exciting opportunity for me.’’
There are still question marks around Oscar Piastri's future at Alpine
Despite an official confirmation shared by Alpine, there is still some controversy in the way the whole thing is handled. As reported by us earlier, Oscar Piastri might have already signed a 'pre-contract' with another team (possibly McLaren) for the 2023 F1 season, which would complicate things.
While Otmar Szafnaeur had assured the media that Alpine will hold over any other team that the Australian can go to, the announcement still seems abrupt. One of the key things to look at is the absence of any official press release from Alpine on its website. Moreover, there is nothing from Piastri on his social media (at the time of writing) either.
While the French team might have made an announcement, it all appears to be a knee-jerk reaction and we could be looking at a few more episodes of the Piastri-Alpine saga soon.