Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer has revealed that the team will soon start planning their driver line-up for the 2023 season, as well as what the future holds for Australian talent Oscar Piastri.
The 21-year-old racer was crowned Formula 2 champion by more than 60 points in 2021 following a dominant season for Prema Racing.
But Alpine – with whom he is a member of their junior driver roster – were only able to offer him a test and reserve role for 2022, with the team opting to retain Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso as their driver line-up.
This leaves the outfit with three potential drivers on the books for 2023.
“Well, it’s a good conundrum to have, that’s for sure,” said Szafnauer, as he discussed the topic with members of the media, including RacingNews365.com.
What are Alpine’s plans for 2023?
Szafnauer is not wrong when he describes Alpine’s future plans as a conundrum, with the team’s only available seat for 2023 currently occupied by Alonso.
His younger teammate, Ocon, is contracted to remain at Enstone until at least 2024 but, while Alonso is only contracted until the end of this season, the Spaniard has not made any retirement plans.
At 40, his pace is still strong, with the two-time World Champion desperately unlucky not to have scored big points during the opening seven races of the new campaign.
Speaking to the BBC last month, Alonso said: “Next year or the next two years I would love to continue and keep driving, because I feel at my best right now and it would be wrong to watch F1 from home while I still feel 100 per cent of my abilities.”
Szafnauer: We have two very talented drivers
Piastri has recently been behind the wheel of the Alpine A521 – the squad’s 2021 challenger – during a private test at the Red Bull Ring, as he adds to his Formula 1 experience.
Understanding the driver’s current situation, Alpine have allowed Piastri to additionally act as a reserve driver at McLaren should he ever be required.
It is a full-time F1 seat that Piastri desires, though.
There now remain only seven places left up for grabs on the 2023 grid following Red Bull’s decision to retain Sergio Perez, and Szafnauer says that Alpine will soon look to address their plans for next season.
“We’ve got two very talented drivers in the car now,” Szafnauer continued.
“Oscar is an upcoming talent and we’ll soon start thinking about what to do for next year.”