Oscar Piastri might have burned his bridges with Alpine with his social media announcement this week, Auto Motor und Sport writer, Andrew Haupt, has suggested.
Alpine driver Fernando Alonso is set to eave at the end of the season to join Aston Martin following the announcement of Sebastian Vettel’s retirement.
Piastri has been Alpine’s reserve driver since he won the Formula 2 championship last season, and the French side, surprised by the Alonso news, revealed that the Australian had been promoted to a race seat.
However, in the latest shock twist, Piastri took to Twitter to affirm that he has not signed a contract with Alpine, and that he “will not be driving for Alpine” in 2023.
The 21-year-old had grown tired of his insecure future, as had Alonso as the French side tried to weigh up who would be driving for them next year, so both of them decided to explore other avenues for themselves.
It is widely reported that Piastri’s manager, Mark Webber, is negotiating with McLaren to get his driver in with them next season but, if this move does not transpire, Piastri may be left empty-handed unless Williams sign him.
As a result, Haupt indicates that the young driver is playing with fire, particularly after his seemingly complete separation from the Enstone-based side.
“Either this Oscar Piastri is a brilliant poker player, or his early successes have gone to his head,” he wrote.
“His management must have found a loophole in the contract with Alpine that will remain open to the bitter end even in a court case, otherwise this action is madness.
“Piastri could have kept a door open at Alpine if he had left out the last sentence in his statement. He wrote: ‘I will not be driving for Alpine next year.’
“That’s an announcement, a clear no to his current employer. Close the door.”
Haupt sees a lot of Alonso’s characteristics in Piastri’s recent actions, and is certain that McLaren is the team of choice for himself and Mark Webber.
“This Piastri seems to act as ruthlessly as Alonso. If you want to turn it positive for him: He behaves as brutally selfish as a future World Champion,” he explained.
“The 21-year-old with the baby face just wants to go to bed with Alpine’s big opponent, with McLaren.
“He hasn’t said that publicly, nor has there been a statement from McLaren, but you just have to put two and two together.
“Piastri did not want to be deported to Williams. He doesn’t want to go around the back, but want to fight for points right away. He could do that with Alpine, but he wants to join McLaren instead.”
Alpine evidently feel as though there is a contractual agreement that obliges Piastri to drive for them next season but, at this stage, it seems that they would need to sue the driver just to get him to race for them.
Should the 21-year-old head to McLaren, Daniel Ricciardo would likely be eyeing a return to Enstone, and team principal Otmar Szafnauer has recently confirmed that he would be open to that.