Aussie rising star Oscar Piastri insists he’s NOT driving for Alpine next year in bombshell statement – as speculation mounts that his manager Mark Webber is trying to get him to replace Daniel Ricciardo at McLaren
- On Tuesday, Alpine announced Piastri would replace Fernando Alonso in 2023
- Piastri responded with a blunt statement insisting he won’t drive for the team
- Rumors are rife that manager Mark Webber is getting Piastri a seat at McLaren
Oscar Piastri has insisted he will not be driving for Formula 1 team Alpine next season hours after his appointment as Fernando Alonso’s replacement had been announced.
Alpine issued a press release on Tuesday afternoon in which it said the 21-year-old Australian had been promoted from reserve driver to partner Esteban Ocon during the 2023 season, prompting a swift response.
Piastri said in a post on his official Twitter account: ‘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.’
Piastri shocked F1 fans with his blunt announcement that he won’t be driving for Alpine next year despite being the first choice to replace Fernando Alonso
The Aussie – pictured here testing Alpine’s 2022 car at Abu Dhabi – is adamant he has not signed a contract to race for the French outfit next season, despite being announced as the team’s new driver on Tuesday
In the Alpine announcement, team principal Otmar Szafnauer had praised Piastri as a ‘rare talent’ who is ‘more than capable’ of making the move into Formula 1.
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.’
Just where the latest development leaves both Piastri and Alpine, who need to replace Alonso after his decision to leave for Aston Martin to take over from the retiring Sebastian Vettel, remains to be seen.
The Australian joined the Alpine Academy as a teenager and became just the third man after Charles Leclerc and George Russell to win back-to-back drivers’ championships in Formula 2 and Formula 3.
Piastri (pictured with current Alpine F1 drivers Esteban Ocon, left, and Fernando Alonso, middle) is one of the most sought-after talents in the sport after winning back-to-back Formula 3 and Formula 2 titles
Alpine principal Otmar Szafnauer said he doesn’t know if Piastri and his manager, former Aussie F1 star Mark Webber (pictured) have made any agreement with McLaren about replacing Daniel Ricciardo next season
There has been speculation that Piastri’s manager, former Australian F1 driver Mark Webber, has been trying to get his charge to replace Daniel Ricciardo at McLaren.
Ricciardo’s struggles with the British team in 2022 and this season have been well documented and there have been repeated reports that they want a new driver to pair with Lando Norris.
‘I’m not privy to whatever prearrangements he (Webber) has with McLaren, if any at all,’ Szafnauer told Autosport when he was asked about the speculation.
‘But I hear the same rumors that you do in the pitlane. But what I do know is that he does have contractual obligations to us. And we do to him. And we’ve been honoring those obligations all year.
‘And those obligations, last through ’23, and possibly in ’24, if some options are taken up.
‘So therefore we do have a legal contract with him into the future for ’23. And if an option is taken up, for ’24. So I don’t know what he’s done with McLaren. Like I said, I’m not private to that.
‘Oscar and his camp are considering their options, whatever that means.’