The current Formula 2 champion will not contest any test in this 2022 season due to his contract with the Alpine Academy , since the French team has its two regular drivers insured, Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon, until the end of this course.
For this reason, the Australian plays the role of test and development driver, thus ensuring his participation in simulator sessions and attendance at briefings during Grand Prix weekends.
This may be enough for this campaign, but the youngster from Melbourne is unlikely to be happy spending another season on the sidelines in 2023 . Esteban Ocon has a three-year contract left, including the one that is being disputed, which means that the only way for Piastri to move up to the French team is if Alonso decides to terminate his contract.
However, the two-time champion made it clear during the Australian Grand Prix that he plans to continue racing “two or three seasons”. Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi said he was not surprised by these comments, and that it is too early to make any decisions about the 2023 line-up.
He also expressed that the Asturian’s future does not necessarily change the plan for Piastri: “It is normal that Fernando [Alonso] will not be alone until the end of this year. As long as he drives so well, if I were him, I would continue driving.”
“It’s a bit early to position any driver anywhere in our team, as well as in other teams, I don’t give it too much importance,” Rossi said. “We are going to develop Oscar [Piastri] through the programme, this does not change anything, so we will make sure that… it is not a question of ‘what if’, but that when he enters Formula 1 he does so as prepared as possible. That’s the only thing that matters,” he added.
If Alonso continues to perform this season and it is decided to continue with him for 2023, Rossi says Alpine will be open to a loan deal elsewhere for Piastri. However, this would only do if there was a way back to the Enstone team.
“If it is a solution that allows me to recover it, I could think about it,” said the team’s chief executive. “I am not opposed to the solution.”
“You have to understand that I want to make Oscar grow, I don’t want to leave him sitting on the bench waiting forever. He has to be ready for when the day comes, and it will come, because he is very talented, he is worthy of one of the 20 seats here. Rossi reflected.
“I think he has the potential to be a future world champion, I am convinced of that, so he has to train as much as he can in the meantime. Looking for a loan has always been an option for all of us, last year Fernando was performing and it would be very surprising that it had lost its magic during the winter,” he continued.
“We are going to be realistic, it is part of the scenarios that we have to study,” said Rossi, who believes that the ideal scenario would be to bring the Australian back when the team has the potential to fight for the title.
“That’s what we’ve discussed with him and with Mark Webber. I’d love to have Oscar as Alpine’s driver of the future when we get to the top of the podium, it’s the ideal scenario, him winning races and championships with us, and that’s what We are going to try to get it,” he said.
The biggest obstacle in a possible assignment is that Alpine does not currently have any customer team, although the general manager of the French is not too worried: “The first thing was to put ours in order and get an engine that allows us to compete, that That’s it. Then we can have customer teams or new entrants that we must consider, it’s natural.”
“Is it totally linked to the drivers? Of course it plays a role, but I would also turn it around, I’m not against having collaborations with teams that don’t have my power unit,” Rossi said.