Otmar Szafnauer has said, the team are looking out for the best driver after Fernando Alonso and Oscar Piastri snub the Alpine.
Alpine Boss Otmar Szafnauer has had the most erratic 48 hours. Right as F1 went into its Summer break, the ‘silly’ season regarding the 2023 driver lineup went full steam.
On Monday, Aston Martin announced Alpine driver Fernando Alonso will be driving for them from the 2023 season on a ‘multi-year deal.’ He replaces Sebastian Vettel who will be retiring at the end of the season.
Nobody at Alpine was informed about the Spaniard’s decision to leave the French team he has shared so much history with. In fact, they too were made aware after the news broke on Twitter!
And in a hurry, Alpine announced their Reserve driver and reigning F2 champion Oscar Piastri to partner Esteban Ocon in 2022. But this announcement featured no quotes from Piastri.
I understand that, without my agreement, Alpine F1 have put out a press release late this afternoon that I am driving for them next year. This is wrong and I have not signed a contract with Alpine for 2023. I will not be driving for Alpine next year.
— Oscar Piastri (@OscarPiastri) August 2, 2022
But Piastri replied with a statement reading, “I understand that, without my agreement, Alpine F1 has put out a press release late this afternoon that I am driving for them next year.”
He adds, “This is wrong and I have not signed a contract with Alpine for 2023. I will not be driving for Alpine next year.” Which makes it clear that Piastri is on his way out, just like Alonso.
Piastri is also linked with McLaren, replacing Daniel Ricciardo. He is managed by Former F1 driver Mark Webber who has pegged the young Aussie for a seat with the Woking-based outfit.
Alpine might consider Daniel Ricciardo’s return
Otmar Szafnauer is now in search of a driver who is ready to drive for the next year. And one of the options that have emerged is former Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo.
Ricciardo drove for Renault for 2 seasons 2019 and 2020. He joined the team after his relations with Red Bull fractured. The rise of a 21-year-old Max Verstappen shifted the focus from Daniel leaving him disappointed.
They weren’t really his best years, as the Aussie found himself battling for midfield positions in an Average car. He was outmatched by Ocon in 2020 and later moved to McLaren for 2021, replacing Ferrari-bound Carlos Sainz.
Jenna Fryer says, Daniel has until Sept to decide whether he will take up his option for 2023 & continue w/ McLaren.
If Ricciardo informs McLaren he wants 2 continue 2023, Mclaren must pay the price of breaking his contract prematurely – if they are to sign Piastri in for 2023. https://t.co/qKsJx6D9dR
— Athena 🏳️🌈 (@tarmactorque) August 3, 2022
Szafnauer chose to be ambiguous with his words. But the Alpine team principal hinted at the possibility saying, “In the short term, we have to replace Fernando with the absolute best driver.”
“But what we mustn’t forget is we have a 100-race plan to start winning races and vying for a championship. We’re over 10 races into that, so we have got 88-89 races to do that.”
“We’ve got to make sure that we complement that plan with the best driver that we can. And there are some options out there for us. And we put the best driver next to Esteban [Ocon], so we can move forward towards what we’ve been planning.”
While Ricciardo has struggled during his time at McLaren, he has committed himself to the team. This has added a new dynamic of both Aussies moving in opposite directions.