Loaning Piastri to F1 rival for 2023 a ‘good scenario’ for Alpine
By Mat Coch
Saturday 23rd July, 2022 - 8:04pm
Alpine boss Laurent Rossi has said he’s willing to loan Oscar Piastri to another Formula 1 team, increasing the chances the Australian will be on the grid in 2023.
Currently working as reserve driver for Alpine, team principal Otmar Szafnauer has previously stated that he believes the Piastri will have a race drive next year.
That sentiment has now been echoed by the French marque’s CEO, Laurent Rossi, who stated he too is of the opinion the 21-year-old will be on the grid in 2023.
Rossi’s comments come as it looks increasingly likely that Fernando Alonso will retain his seat along Esteban Ocon, thereby blocking Piastri’s path within the Anglo-French squad.
The Melburnian would therefore have to find a drive elsewhere, with a loan arrangement with Williams looking increasingly likely.
“I think so,” Rossi said when asked if both Alonso and Piastri would be on the grid in 2023.
Pressed by Speedcafe.com as to why he had that opinion, the Frenchman gave little away.
“We are working on scenarios for both of them to drive, and scenarios that are very plausible, very sensible, and we imagine will satisfy those drivers,” he said.
“That’s why I can’t say more.”
Piastri has been linked with Williams for some time, though his relationship with Alpine has always complicated matters.
A loan deal could offer a neat solution for both organisations, and would be something akin to that which saw George Russell drive for the squad prior to his move to Mercedes this season.
“I’d be open to loan Oscar out to a team as long as I get him back,” Rossi confessed.
“We’ve invested heavily in Oscar. We believe in him. That’s why he’s our reserve driver.
“He’s a very promising talent, we would like to fulfil this talent in this team.
“So a loan, like many other drivers starting in another team to learn the tricks and then coming back to us, will be a good scenario.”
However, the notable difference is that there is no relationship between Williams and Alpine like there was with Mercedes, which has a technical agreement with the Grove squad.
Despite that, Williams team principal Jost Capito is also open to the concept.
“I think we’ve got various options,” he said.
“That’s the options we are thinking about as well, and we will finally go for what we believe is the best for the team, but it’s too early to get into details because we’re not there yet.
“If that was the best for us, then we would consider that,” he added when pressed specifically on taking a driver on loan.
“If it’s not the best, we would have another, better solution. We will go for the better solution.”
It is far from a done deal, as there are others on the market who do not have the same strings attached as Piastri.
Nyck de Vries in the mix along with Formula 2 racer Logan Sargeant, the former having taken part in Free Practice 1 in place of Alex Albon in Spain, and the latter part of Williams’ own academy programme.
Sargeant has hit his stride in Formula 2 of late, winning two of the last three races and yesterday claiming pole position for Sunday’s Feature race in Paul Ricard.
The American sits second in the championship and is the front runner for a Free Practice 1 outing with Williams later in the year in place of Latifi.
De Vries meanwhile is Mercedes’ reserve driver, and won the Formula E world championship for the German marque last season – a competition he continues to compete in.
With Mercedes set to end its involvement in the all-electric competition at the end of the current campaign, the Dutchman faces something of an uncertain future despite whispers linking him to Toyota’s WEC programme.
On Friday he was on track in Paul Ricard, taking over Lewis Hamilton’s car in Free Practice 1, a role he’s likely to reprise later in the season in place of George Russell.
However, talk of him finding his way onto the grid permanently has eased in recent months, and at 27-years-old it looks increasingly likely that he’s missed the window for an F1 career.