Formula 1 News | Alpine will decide whether to drop Piastri sooner
Alpine is set to make an imminent call on whether McLaren-linked Oscar Piastri is kept on board for the rest of this year.
On the eve of the Dutch Grand Prix, it was announced that Alpine had lost its bid to keep Piastri on its books next year after the Contract Recognition Board ruled in favor of McLaren.
Piastri will make his Formula 1 debut in 2023 alongside Lando Norris on a two-year deal.
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With the young Australian set to join the Woking side, Alpine wonders if it’s ok to keep Piastri for the rest of 2022.
As things stand, the highly sought-after 21-year-old is still a reserve and test driver for the Enstone squad. However, it may not be for very long.
“He’s with us this weekend, doing simulator work, and that will be decided,” Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer said of Piastri’s place in the team.
“He will continue this weekend. There are only a few days left, today and tomorrow, then on Monday we will meet with them and decide how to move forward.”
In an interview with the official Formula 1 website, Piastri said he was happy to carry out his duties at Alpine until the end of his contract.
If Piastri leaves his role at Alpine, it could open the door to an early arrival at McLaren.
Piastri is also a reserve driver for McLaren. Earlier this year he was put on hold after Lando Norris fell ill ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix.
This resource-sharing arrangement has remained intact ever since.
Now for McLaren it’s a matter of determining what is possible while we await the outcome of Monday’s meeting.
“It’s ultimately up to Andreas [Siedl, McLaren team principal] to set out our plans for this year,” McLaren CEO Zak Brown told Sky Sports F1 when asked if a free practice outing was a possibility for Piastri.
“It’s under contract with Alpine for 22 months so it’s something they’re both going to have to discuss, but we haven’t finalized any plans on our end. We have our TPC tests (tests of a previous car) ongoing program, so Andreas will make those decisions in due course.”
Ironically, that would put Piastri in Norris’ car or that of Daniel Ricciardo, whom the young gun will replace next year.
Asked hypothetically what he would do, Brown said Alpine shouldn’t stop Piastri from arriving at McLaren early.
“It’s my personal opinion, I think you have to let the drivers move on and drive the race cars,” Brown said.
“I believe it’s not just the drivers, it’s the employees. People kind of want to want to be part of the team and vice versa to really have a productive environment.
“If it was me, and I’m a little biased, I’d say ‘why don’t you go have fun with your new team’, but that’s ultimately their decision.”
The Formula 1 Dutch Grand Prix will start on Sunday at 11 p.m.
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