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(L to R): Esteban Ocon (FRA) Alpine F1 Team; Fernando Alonso (ESP) Alpine F1 Team; Oscar Piastri (AUS) Alpine F1 Team Reserve Driver, at a team photograph. 20.03.2022. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 1, Bahrain Grand Prix, Sakhir, Bahrain, Race Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Bearne / XPB Images

‘New’ Piastri vs ‘Old’ Alonso: Alpine need to choose by July

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Otmar Szafnauer has set a deadline for a deal between Oscar Piastri and an F1 Seat. Szafnauer has said Piastri needs one by Summer.

Alpine Academy star, Oscar Piastri, wowed the motorsport world when he won F3 and F2 in his debut season. Because of this, many thought Piastri would find an F1 seat immediately.

This, however, was not the case. F1 seats aren’t received simply on merit. Contracts and sponsorships all play a part.

Alpine doesn’t want Piastri sitting on the sidelines for the 2023 season yet there is only one seat at Alpine up for grabs. Esteban Ocon has a contract with his home team until 2024. This means Alpine must choose between Alonso and Piastri.

Alpine may explore the possibility of finding him a seat at a team elsewhere. This could prove tricky as many of the teams run their own driver programs which support their own talent. On top of this, many of the teams are locked out with their drivers. Many have contracts in place for the 2023 season.

This means the one remaining Alpine seat would be the most likely opportunity for Piastri. Yet, this means Alpine would have to decide between a two-time world champion who has still got tons of fight in him or a new up-and-comer who has proved himself time after time.

Piastri is currently working as the Alpine test driver and is completing lots of simulation and off-track work for Alpine.

Otmar Szafnauer has stated that the decision on Piasrti will need to be made in the summer.

“There’s no pressure to find him [Piastri] a seat as it’s only April. But there will certainly be pressure in July,” – Otmar Szafnauer.

By this time, Formula One will be entering ‘silly season. The time of year when contract rumours and huge deals fill the headlines. Weighing in on the Alonso vs Piastri debates, Alonso himself has stated that he will drive for a few more years. Interestingly, Alonso didn’t say which team that would be for.

I will drive a few more years. Two or three more years. If with Alpine, then fine. If with one other team, then fine.” – Fernando Alonso

As Alonso’s 2022 season continues, Alpine’s decision will become a lot more obvious. If Alonso keeps up with teammate Ocon then Alpine could keep the original pairing.

If Alonso fails to keep up, this could give Piastri the green light. At the moment, Ocon is heads and shoulders above Alonso. Ocon has scored in every race and is P7 in the driver standings.

Feature Image Credit: XPB Images


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