Alpine confirms Piastri for 2023

Oscar Piastri

The Alpine Formula 1 team has confirmed Oscar Piastri will partner Esteban Ocon at the squad in 2023.

UPDATE: Piastri responds to Alpine

A bizarre statement issued by the team confirmed the Australian will step into the seat vacated by Fernando Alonso, but included no comment from the 21-year old.

“Oscar is a bright and rare talent,” said Alpine Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer.

“We are proud to have nurtured and supported him through the difficult pathways of the junior formulae.

“Through our collaboration over the past four years, we have seen him develop and mature into a driver who is more than capable of taking the step up to Formula 1.

“As our reserve driver he has been exposed to the team at the track, factory and testing where he has shown the maturity, promise and speed to ensure his promotion to our second seat alongside Esteban.

“Together, we believe the duo will give us the continuity we need to achieve our long-term goal of challenging for wins and championships.”

Just hours prior to the announcement, Alpine Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer had faced the media.

There, he faced a barrage of questions over Piastri’s future in the wake of Alonso’s departure to Aston Martin.

He also addressed speculation linking the Melburnian to a move to McLaren, suggesting Alpine had first dibs but that the Australian, and his management, was assessing its options.

“Oscar and his camp are considering their options, whatever that means,” Szafnauer said earlier in the day.

“His manager’s in Australia, there’s a bit of a time difference,” he added.

“But I’ve been trying to get hold of Mark and wrote some text messages and some emails to him, as well.”

“There shouldn’t be any complications,” he added.

“If everyone is true to the agreements that they signed back only a few months ago, we should be able to move forward with the agreements that we have in place.”

Piastri’s rise to F1 has been aided in no small part by Alpine, which supported him through Formula 3 and Formula 2, after joining the (then) Renault Sport Academy after winning the Formula Renault Eurocup in 2019.

While sidelined this year in his role as reserve driver in the French marque’s Formula 1 team, the 21-year-old has been working through a significant testing programme in one of the squad’s 2021-spec cars.

“It’s more than just a financial investment, it’s also an emotional one and getting him ready for what we hope is a successful Formula 1 career,” Szafnauer had explained.

“Not every Formula 1 team does that for an academy driver that’s come through, but we’ve chosen to do that to get him ready, and we’ve only done that with a view of having him race here in the future.

“We wouldn’t have done that if the view was to get him prepared for one of our competitors.”

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