Did Williams sign a replacement for under-fire Latifi in Monaco?

Nicholas Latifi appears likely to leave Williams at the end of the 2022 season.

Dutch racing driver Tom Coronel is certain that Alpine reserve driver Oscar Piastri will soon be in the Williams alongside Alex Albon next season amid Nicholas Latifi’s struggles.

Latifi is yet to score points this year while team-mate Albon has managed two top 10 finishes, and his crashes and spins, coupled with a distinct lap of pace in the early rounds, have not helped his cause.

He did, however, beat Albon in race trim in Barcelona and Monaco, but he doubts that it will be enough to keep the Canadian in the seat.

Oscar Piastri missed out on a drive this year despite dominantly winning the Formula 2 championship last season, and Alpine are looking for a way to get the young Australian a seat without disadvantaging Fernando Alonso or Esteban Ocon.

Coronel indicates that the deal taking Piastri to Williams next year might even have already been signed during the last round in Monte Carlo.

“We will, of course, see the Alpine reserve driver Oscar Piastri drive there,” he told RacingNews365.com.

“That seems to have already been signed in Monaco. I don’t know when they’re going to come out with it. That’s a strong rumour.

“If you want to mature someone in Formula 1, like Piastri, then Alpine has set aside a decent budget for this: a budget to park him and get him used to Formula 1.”

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Alonso previously affirmed that speculation about his departure is all about his age rather than his performances – which have been splendid – and he would like to carry on racing for another “two or three” years.

Coronel, who has won three races in the Europe Touring Car Series and is currently second in the championship, suggests that Piastri’s prospective move to Williams commits Alpine to their current line-up for at least another year.

“You wouldn’t loan out a driver like Piastri, you don’t put him in a Williams for nothing,” he explained.

“That means [Alpine] would like to keep their driver line-up unchanged.”

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Were Piastri to join Williams, there would be less competition for the McLaren seat should Daniel Ricciardo leave the British side at the end of this year, so AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly would have slightly less competition for the seat should it become available, and should he want it.

The Frenchman is out of contract at the Red Bull junior side this season, and the door to him re-joining the main fold in 2024 was firmly closed when Sergio Perez signed a new deal with the Austrian outfit.