Alpine confirms Piastri for end of season F1 test
By Mat Coch
Saturday 4th December, 2021 - 3:05am
Oscar Piastri will drive in Formula 1’s end of season young driver test in Abu Dhabi for Alpine.
The Australian was recently confirmed as the French marque’s reserve driver for 2022, an announcement quickly followed by confirmation Guanyu Zhou will join Alfa Romeo.
It leaves Piastri as the leading Alpine Academy driver, clearing the path for him to join the team at the Yas Marina circuit for the two-day outing.
The news was confirmed by team director Marcin Budkowski in Saudi Arabia on Friday.
“He’s going to run in in Abu Dhabi for the post-season tests this year,” Budkowski confirmed.
Piastri himself had confessed to Speedcafe.com last week that he was yet to be confirmed in the seat, though expected that to happen.
“I can’t say yes,” he said at the time when asked if he’d feature for Alpine in the Yas Marina test.
“If you use if you use logic: Zhou’s gone, Christian [Lundgaard] is doing IndyCar.
“I haven’t had it confirmed to me, whether I’m doing it or not, but I would like to think personally that since I’m reserve driver next year, and I’m sort of a leading Academy driver, I would like to think there’s a strong chance I’ll be doing it, so we’ll see.”
The Abu Dhabi outing is just a toe in the water ahead of an expanded programme in 2021 for the 20-year-old, according to Budkowski.
“The regulations next year impose us to running at two free practice sessions,” he explained.
“We’ll do also a bespoke testing programme for him in Formula 1 cars to make sure he really, really ramps up.
“So we’ll develop Oscar a lot beyond just taking him to the races and having him as a third driver.”
Piastri is this weekend in action for the penultimate round of the FIA Formula 2 Championship, a competition he currently leads by 40 points and which supports the Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in Jeddah.
He went fastest in qualifying to claim pole position ahead of Prema team-mate Robert Shwartzman, while title rival Zhou was only sixth best.