Alpine F1 reserve driver Oscar Piastri has been promoted by the team to race alongside Esteban Ocon beginning 2023.

Following the surprise announcement that Fernando Alonso would join Aston Martin F1 at the end of the current season and leave Alpine, rumors about who would take his place intensified.

This comes after Sebastian Vettel made his Formula One retirement announcement just days before the Hungarian Grand Prix. Vettel’s retirement left an opening for Aston Martin to fill. The team then declared that Fernando Alonso would sign a multi-year contract with them. After 2023, the Spaniard switched to Aston Martin, leaving an opening at Alpine.

The 2021 Formula 2 champion Piastri seemed to be the obvious alternative as Aston Martin dropped the shock that four-time F1 champion Alonso would switch to the team following two years with Alpine.

“Oscar is a bright and rare talent,” commented Alpine team boss 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.”

But things seemed more difficult than they initially seemed, particularly after team manager Otmar Szafnauer acknowledged on Tuesday morning that Piastri’s camp was exploring its options and that Piastri had been connected to a move to McLaren.

The Alpine announcement does not contain a quote from Piastri, and earlier on Tuesday, Szafnauer told the media that it was challenging to contact his management.

Given that Alpine insists it has a contractual option to hire Piastri for the years 2023 and 2024, it’s possible that Alpine has unilaterally exercised that option and informed Piastri and his management of its choice, prompting an announcement seven hours after Szafnauer had expressed skepticism.

Since he won back-to-back championships in feeder series, Oscar Piastri, the French team’s test and reserve driver, has been waiting for his opportunity in Formula One. He beat Théo Pourchaire to win the 2020 FIA Formula 3 championship.

Piastri eventually went on to win the Formula 2 title in 2021, a year later. Piastri was left without a drive after winning the Formula 2 championship because there were no open F1 slots.

However, the Australian’s moment has come as he advances to Formula One and joins Alpine as a full-time F1 driver.

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