DECEMBER 5, 2021
Piastri's future depends on Alonso
Oscar Piastri's rise to the Formula 1 grid depends in part on Fernando Alonso.
That is the news from Marcin Budkowski, Alpine's executive director who does admit that the Mark Webber-managed Piastri is being fully supported by the Renault-owned team.
Australian Piastri, who is leading the Formula 2 standings, has already been signed as Alpine's reserve driver for 2022.
"It comes with an awful lot of other things," Budkowski said of the appointment.
Those things will involve "quite a lot of track running as well".
"He's going to run in Abu Dhabi for the post-season test, and the regulations next year imposes to run him at two free practice sessions," said Budkowski.
"We'll do a bespoke testing program for him in Formula 1 cars, to make sure he really, really ramps up. We will develop Oscar a lot, beyond just taking him to the races as our third driver."
The complication for Alpine is that, with Esteban Ocon already signed until the end of 2024, Piastri's step up to the grid appears to depend on 40-year-old F1 legend Alonso's next move.
"It's a good question," Budkowski said, "but it's not about a direct comparison.
"How are we going to make that decision? Well, let's see next year first.
"If the car is quick and Fernando is happy, then we will have one type of discussion," he explained. "If that's not the case then we will have a different type of discussion.
"But we certainly have a great talent in the wings with Oscar and if there is no seat available at Alpine I'm sure we will find a solution for him to drive a Formula 1 car and stay in the Alpine family."