Alpine have announced their highly-rated reserve driver Oscar Piastri has been promoted to a race seat next year, as the replacement for Aston Martin-bound Fernando Alonso.
Sebastian Vettel revealed on Thursday that he would be retiring from Formula 1 at the end of the season, triggering a chain reaction that saw his team Aston Martin announce the signing of Alonso to replace the German for next year.
The surprise switch left a seat open at Alpine, and on Tuesday afternoon they announced it would be filled by 21-year-old Australian Piastri, who is currently the team’s reserve driver, and is the reigning Formula 2 champion, having won the title in his rookie season.
A statement from the team announcing the news said: “As part of his formative F1 journey, Oscar was first promoted to BWT Alpine F1 Team Reserve Driver at the start of the 2022 season and has since been undergoing, under the Team’s guidance and its full financial support, an intensive and comprehensive training programme of private tests in the race-winning A521, the 2021 Alpine F1 car, race support and simulator sessions to prepare him for the next big step into F1.
“Alpine now looks forward to seeing the next stage in his F1 career alongside Esteban Ocon.”
Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer said: “Oscar is a bright and rare talent. 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.”
But the story took another turn just a few hours after Alpine’s announcement, when Piastri took to his social media channels to insist he would NOT be driving for the team next year.