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


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...

Article from Pitpass (http://www.pitpass.com):

Published: 03/08/2022
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