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"I will not be driving for Alpine next year," says Piastri

NEWS STORY
03/08/2022

In a not totally unexpected move, Oscar Piastri has denied that he has signed to partner Esteban Ocon in 2023, insisting: "I will not be driving for Alpine next year."

Just hours after Alpine announced that it had "promoted" Piastri, and that the Australian would be stepping into "Fernando Alonso’s seat from next year onwards", the Australian took to social media to deny the claim.

"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.

"This is wrong," he added, "and I have not signed a contract with Alpine for 2023. I will not be driving for Alpine next year."

Indeed, the comment echoes that of Alex Palou, who last month was announced as having signed a contract with Chip Ganassi for a third season with the team in IndyCar.

Shortly after, the Spaniard issued a denial, which was followed by a press release from McLaren Racing announcing that it had secured the youngster's services.

The comment from Piastri is the latest twist in a saga that it turning the F1 paddock upside down.

On Tuesday, Aston Martin announced that Fernando Alonso would be joining the team in 2023, a move that many saw as the result of Alpine promoting Piastri to his seat alongside Ocon.

However, earlier today, Alpine boss, Otmar Szafnauer revealed that yesterday's announcement came as a total shock as the French team was aiming to retain the Spaniard for at least one more season.

Adding to the intrigue is the fact that Piastri's management team, which includes former F1 star Mark Webber, was looking at other options, which are believed to include Daniel Ricciardo's seat at McLaren.

Having made much of the money and time it has invested in Piastri, it appeared that today's announcement from Alpine was the French outfit's means of preparing its legal case, the fact that the Australian driver isn't quoted in the release underlining the fact that all is not as it appears.

As a result, F1 heads into the summer break with two teams looking set to take legal action over Piastri's future... a future which, as far as the Australian and his management are concerned, already appears to have been settled, for if he knows he isn't driving for Alpine in 2023 then he knows where he is going... which suggests Ricciardo is going to be considering his options over the break.

Of course, the more sceptical among you will be sensing the hand of a certain Zak Brown in all of this...

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by TokyoAussie, 09/08/2022 4:27

"I seem to remember reading somewhere that this situation came about because by the time Alonso's situation was decided, Piastri's contract had expired. It was a mere matter of hours. Dunno what's true, but it sure makes it look like the pilot for F1 Contract Legal TV series."

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2. Posted by trackrecords, 07/08/2022 5:02

"We can all name an armful of talented young drivers, well-capable of holding their own in F1, who either get ejected before given a decent chance to shine or never got a drive in the first place.
The fact that they went on to excel in Sportscars/Le Mans or Indycars proves their talent was not lacking, just their luck.
With this in mind you would think that the 'chosen-ones' would be so grateful for their F1 opportunity that they would be of exemplary good behaviour so as not to jeopardise the 'golden seat'?
Or am I just old-fashioned in my respect? Are good manners a lost art with the under-25s? Or am I the wrong temperament and mindset to be a F1 driver, and would need to be much more self-confident, devious and single-minded?
"

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3. Posted by Mortulmo, 06/08/2022 12:42

"Does F1 Have Contact Tampering ?? If he was still under contract to Alpine Why was Mclaren allowed to speak to him ?"

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4. Posted by Scenic, 04/08/2022 11:04

"Mr. Piastra may well be a good driver, but with his background is a spoilt brat willing to break his contract with Alpine. Grow up and join Williams with a real bloke - Alex !"

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5. Posted by kenji, 04/08/2022 1:52

"@ Editor....come on Ed. As a guess I would say that we both saw a certain individual well known for his multi meat pie adventures strolling the grid in Hungary and it is he who we are obliquely referencing? No show without Punch, as they say at odd times. As for assistance with legal costs I think you're mixing me up with another white haired octo haha."

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6. Posted by kenji, 04/08/2022 1:43

"IIRC Mark Webber and Alonso are great pals and gave us some super wheel to wheel racing a few years back...who can forget one of the greatest passes of all time at Spa between Alonso and Webber at Eau Rouge ? Alpine's dithering on Alonso's contract would not have pleased him at all and hence the defection. A Ricciardo return would be a very good move ATM and there is little love lost between Ocon and Daniel so the racing would be feisty. Ricciardo would be on a rampage to prove a point and Ocon driving for his future...sounds good to me."

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7. Posted by kdxrider, 03/08/2022 14:48

"Ocon just the last few races has been giving Alonso a run for his money, my view is that Alonso doesn't want another Hamilton scenario so got out before it did. The timing of the announcement is a bit curious though and certainly looks like he did Piastri a favour ---"

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8. Posted by Endre, 03/08/2022 14:32

"Read elsewhere that Alpine was supposed to confirm Piastri by July 31st in order to retain their claim on him. Rumor has it that this was the reason for the timing of Alonso's announcement who may have wanted to help Piastri out or just show a middle finger to Alpine for whatever reason.

Netflix must really enjoy this soap opera."

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9. Posted by Rock Doc, 03/08/2022 14:29

"Alpine seem to be trying to stand firm on next year. They have spent a lot of money and resources getting him up to speed with outings in the old car.

So as usual in F1 this will all be down to money to grease the gears of change.

Personally I would like to see Albon get a chance at Alpine. Gasly's star has certainly taken a hit in recent races."

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10. Posted by Editor, 03/08/2022 12:23

"@ Kenji

Why of course, because I know you would be among the very first to help out with my legal fees."

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11. Posted by kenji, 03/08/2022 11:40

"@Editor...very cryptic? Care to add a few more clues....."

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12. Posted by kenji, 03/08/2022 11:32

"This is provingto be some sort of thriller with many suspects!! Interesting to read that level three at Alpine/Renault Szafnaeur publically stating that there are' no problems' if Ricciardo was interested in returning. Level two [ Rossi ] and level one [ Di Meo ] might not feel the same way but who knows? Major changes would look suss if Brown and Seidel had to walk back their comments whereby they were categorical when stating the fact that Ricciardo would be driving the McLaren in '23. Each day brings more speculation and hopefully it all gets resolved soon....the suspense is enormous."

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13. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 03/08/2022 11:00

"@editor, I too thought that once a driver had "dissed" a team then bridges had been burned and there was no or little chance of redemption of the driver in the eyes of the slighted team.

Then Alonso joined McLaren a second time.

A shame that Ricciardo hasn't panned out at McLaren however that's the way it goes when performance is key and really all that matters in order to get the points the team needs.

Regarding who goes where for next season, perhaps Marcus Ericson's tweet could help?
https://twitter.com/Ericsson_Marcus/status/1554533246129561603


Marcus Ericsson
@Ericsson_Marcus
Aug 2
After Alonso’s “middle finger to Alpine switch” this is how the rest of @F1 silly season will play out:

Alpine Ocon-Gasly
AlphaT Schumacher-Tsunoda
Mclaren Norris-Piastri
AlfaR Bottas-Zhou
Haas Mag-Ricciardo
Williams Albon-De Vries

It’s called Silly season for a reason 😜"

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14. Posted by Editor, 03/08/2022 8:27

"A few years back a very good friend of mine had business dealings with a man – let’s call him Mr X, or Y… or Z.

It didn’t turn out well and my friend is still paying the price…

Too many fingers in too many pies and some dubious connections.

Ricciardo is toast at McLaren and after the way he treated Renault last time it is unlikely they will want him back."

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15. Posted by kenji, 03/08/2022 4:27

"@ chicken farmer F1...Contracts are certainly worth more than the paper they're printed on...especially when an aggreived party wins big in the courts.Of course Ricciardo could lose his drive in '24. That's not been discussed though and is, i would've thought, a point of some conjecture which would depend on his performance over the season. If McLaren found a silver bullet and he won many races then I would think that would warrant another discussion, despite it being highly unlikely. It's really down to McLaren to supply him with a car that's capable of winning. If they do somehow engineer a Ferrari/RBR equal withou the hangover of the
'21 characteristics then anything could happen...and confounds lotsa pundits into the bargain."

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