- F1 team Alpine announced that Oscar Piastri would replace the outgoing Fernando Alonso in 2023.
- Piastri refuted this claim, saying he is not under contract and would not race for Alpine next season.
- The Australian has been linked to other teams and now his future is up in the air.
It looks like top prospect Oscar Piastri will finally get a shot to drive in Formula One, but with which team remains a hotly contested matter.
On Tuesday, Alpine announced that Piastri, currently the team’s reserve driver, would join its lineup in 2023, replacing Fernando Alonso, who surprisingly announced that he would be moving to Aston Martin next year.
—BWT Alpine F1 Team (@AlpineF1Team) August 2, 2022
However, two hours later, Piastri shocked the F1 world by calling Alpine’s announcement fake news.
“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,” Piastri wrote on Twitter.
“This is wrong and I have not signed a contract with Alpine for 2023. I will not be driving for Alpine next year.”
Piastri, the 2020 F3 champion and 2021 F2 champion, has been considered a key piece for this summer’s “silly season” to determine the 2023 F1 grid.
The 21-year-old Australian has been linked to both McLaren, as a potential replacement for Daniel Ricciardo, and Williams, where he would replace Nicholas Latifi.
Several outlets have reported that Piastri and his agent, former F1 driver Mark Webber, have been working on a deal with McLaren.
However, according to Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer, Piastri is still under contract with his team.
“I’m not privy to whatever pre-arrangements he has with McLaren, if any at all,” Szafnauer told Motorsport.com. “But I hear the same rumors that you do in the pit lane. But what I do know is that he does have contractual obligations to us. And we do to him. And we’ve been honoring those obligations all year. And those obligations last through ’23 and possibly in ’24, if some options are taken up.”
Complicating matters is an apparent clause in Piastri’s current contract.
According to Sky Sports, Alpine had a July 31 deadline to declare Piastri as one of their 2023 drivers. If they missed the deadline — and on the surface, it looks as if they did — Piastri could be free to sign with another team.
And then there is Ricciardo’s future. He is under contract for 2023 with McLaren and has repeatedly said he will honor that commitment. Signing Piastri could be seen as a move by McLaren to force Ricciardo to opt out of his deal and open a spot for Piastri.
All the moves, rumors and hearsay surrounding next year’s F1 grid are quickly approaching a fever pitch. They don’t call it “silly season” for nothing.