What’s great about Netflix with F1 is that it gives you bedtime stories on a set in disused hangars without you having to lift a finger. The last? Alpine’s nameless mess that managed to make a fool of itself in a few hours in the eyes of the world with the real-fake nomination of Oscar Piastri to replace Fernando Alonso. With this question as a teaser: but how could the French team, 4th in the constructors’ world championship, end up in such a sauce?
The question shakes (and laughs) the paddocks, and a little more, since Fernando Alonso chose on Monday to leave the ship to join Aston Martin, without anyone expecting it, not even his current employer. In the process, Alpine announced Oscar Piastri as second driver, along with Esteban Ocon, on Tuesday afternoon. Given this, the young Australian immediately denied any agreement with the French manufacturer.
The blue-white-reddish team, however, was sure (or not) of it on their Twitter account. After a press conference in which the team manager, Omar Szafnauer, was very evasive about the identity of Fernando Alonso’s replacement, minutes later, to everyone’s surprise, Oscar Piastri was announced as the future driver for the 2023 season.
Appointed reserve driver this season, the young Australian F2 champion has been part of the Alpine family since 2019. The question remains when we look at the press release, which does not include any statement from the Australian. Only two hours passed before the denial of the young driver, now legendary on Twitter with more than 367,000 likes, totally ridiculing the French team who thought they had control over his protégé.
“Without my consent, Alpine F1 issued a press release late in the afternoon stating that I will be driving for them next year. This is false and I have not signed a contract with Alpine for 2023. I will not be driving for Alpine next year”, Piastri stings.
Incompetence or lost bet?
How can a team of this size make such a mistake? Announcing a firm that doesn’t exist seems lunar, even to Ferrari strategists. It seems more like a “Patrick Bruelien” gamble on the part of Omar Szafnauer, who is well aware that his protégé is being courted by competing teams, particularly McLaren.
“We have invested a lot in Oscar, especially allowing him to do several thousand kilometers with last year’s car,” Szafnauer said during his press conference. It’s a financial investment, but it’s also an emotional one, and not all teams do that with their academy backs. We did all this to prepare him and with the aim of making him a starter in the future. Not for him to join another team. »
On arrival, the addition is salty for Alpine. Divorce with Oscar Piastri seems inevitable after this planetary humiliation that seems to amuse not only F1 fans (cf. Mercedes’ tweet above)… And now he has to find a new driver to accompany Ocon next year. Rumors of Pierre Gasly and Daniel Ricciardo are already doing the rounds. “I don’t think it would be a problem if Daniel came back,” Szafnauer said Tuesday. Hoping this time that the director has been sounded out about this possibility.
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