Alpine are expected to give Oscar Piastri an outing in his first-ever official Formula 1 session at the French Grand Prix, according to a report by Motorsport.com.
New sporting regulations this year dictate that every team on the grid must run a junior or reserve driver in at least two practice sessions over the course of a season in practice sessions to encourage young talent in the pinnacle of motorsport.
As the current Formula 2 champion, there will be a lot of intrigue as to how the young Australian will get on during the session after he missed out on F1 seat to fellow F2 graduate Zhou Guanyu at the start of the year.
The young Chinese driver who, like Piastri, won four races in the feeder series last season, secured a seat with Alfa Romeo for 2022 alongside Valtteri Bottas, and has scored points on two occasions, most recently at last weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix.
Piastri was involved in Alpine’s last two testing days in Austria and Silverstone in recent weekd, and the French side are keen to get him into the pinnacle of motorsport for next year.
They were ready to let him join McLaren for the opening round of the season in Bahrain were Daniel Ricciardo unable to contest it having contracted COVID-19, but his services were ultimately not required by the British team.
The most likely option now is Williams amid Nicholas Latifi’s current form, and the Canadian is out of contract at the end of this season.
Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer confirmed that the 21-year-old will be in F1 next year, all but solidifying Piastri’s place at the Grove-based outfit in 2023.
Williams team principal and CEO Jost Capito praised the talents of the reigning F2 champion, but intends to honour Latifi’s contract until its expiry.
“Oscar for sure is ready to go into F1, I think he’s one on the list for sure,” he explained.
“We have got contracts for this year we stick to our drivers and we are convinced Nicky will find the confidence in the car through the season and his results will be better.”
The practice session at Paul Ricard would be the first of Alpine’s two mandatory junior runs in practice sessions this season.