Otmar Szafnauer expecting key decision on Oscar Piastri’s future today

Oscar Piastri is expected to replace Daniel Ricciardo at McLaren next year, but Alpine are not done with him yet.

Alpine team principal, Otmar Szafnauer, will only have an idea of what his line-up might look like this season after the situation with Oscar Piastri is settled in court.

Piastri won the Formula 3 and Formula 2 titles as part of the Renault turned Alpine academy in 2020 and 2021 respectively, and he has taken a year out this year having been unable to secure a seat.

The Australian has been serving as the team’s reserve driver this season, and Alpine have been trying to secure a loan move for him for next year.

However, there was a possibility that they would need him for next season, so they wanted to wait for confirmation as to whether or not Fernando Alonso would be sticking around beyond 2022.

READ: Lando Norris reveals why Oscar Piastri joining McLaren would make him ‘feel weird’

A contract had been put in front of the Spaniard, but he wanted a longer one which, due to his age, Szafnauer was unwilling to give him.

So the 41-year-old turned to Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll following the announcement of Sebastian Vettel’s retirement, and he struck a deal with them for next year.

He did not tell Szafnauer of his decision, so the Romanian-American only heard the news via Aston Martin’s press release after the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Not to worry though, because the French side could simply promote Piastri into the race seat alongside Esteban Ocon for 2023, and they announced that the day after Alonso was confirmed at Aston Martin.

Article continues below

However, while he was being kept in limbo, the 21-year-old reportedly agreed a deal with McLaren to replace Daniel Ricciardo, who is set to leave the British side by mutual consent at the end of this year.

READ: Fernando Alonso reveals disappointment with Alpine ‘conspiracy’

There is a chance that the 33-year-old might return to the Enstone-based side he left at the end of 2020, but it may yet be that Piastri changes his mind, settles his dispute with Alpine, and signs with them next year.

Alpine have made it clear that they are going to the contract recognition board (CRB) to get compensation from Piastri having invested heavily in his career, but Szafnauer is keeping an open mind as to his plans for 2023.

“I think we should wait for Monday or Tuesday and then thereafter look at our situation, having good information and make those decisions,” he said ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix, quoted by Fox Australia.

“Sitting here right now, it‘s just hypothetical and I’d rather wait a day or two, it’s not long.”

Ricciardo was reportedly contacted over the summer break by Haas team principal Guenther Steiner as the eight-time race winner looks to stay in Formula 1 next season.