Oscar Piastri will almost certainly have a seat on the Formula 1 grid in 2023, while Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer is not ruling out an early promotion this season.
The 2021 Formula 2 champion is having to endure a year on the sidelines as Alpine has Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso under contract this season, leaving Piastri to carry out a testing program. RACER understands the Australian is a leading candidate to race for Williams next year, amid rumors that move could even come this season, Szafnauer says he’s confident he’ll be on the grid in 2023, if not sooner.
“We’re contracted with Oscar; we have some options on him,” Szafnauer said. “There’s no real need to hurry that so we’ll take our time, and at the right moment within the silly season we’ll have a look around and make those types of decisions.”
Asked if he thinks Piastri will be on the grid next year, Szafnauer replied: “Yes. We don’t talk about the details of our contracts with the drivers and that’s something that we never do, so as much as I’d like to tell you, I don’t think I can. But when I do say ‘Yes,’ that’s the plan.”
Piastri has been linked with Nicholas Latifi’s seat at Williams during the current season, with Szafnauer saying he wouldn’t be opposed to an earlier opportunity.
“I’ve read the same, and it’s hard for me to predict the future on that so I’d like not to, but I don’t have any more knowledge than you do.
“If I could predict the future, I’d be in Vegas, but I wouldn’t rule it out.”