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Fernando Alonso's future in F1 will remain at the centre of paddock discussion until his position at Alpine is clarified, as the Spaniard looks to secure a contract extension with team Enstone. 

Oscar Piastri is the greatest threat to Alonso's ambitions of continuing in the sport, since it will undoubtedly be a priority for Alpine to keep Oscar Piastri in their setup. 

It would be catastrophic for a rival team to poach the reigning Formula 2 champion, so Alpine must act diligently to serve their short and long-term interests. 

According to as.com, paddock sources indicate Alonso is in a solid position to sign a contract extension with Alpine. Meanwhile, Piastri is expected to debut next season with Williams, though negotiations between the parties involved are far from over.

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Piastri's Mentor, Mark Webber, could add a spanner in the works, owing to his strong connections throughout the paddock. The F1 race-winner will be using his contracts to assess all potential openings Piastri can exploit for next season. 

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Perhaps Alpine's greatest asset in negotiations will be their current level of competitiveness, which places them as the 4th best team in the sport, with the resources and infrastructure to push forward with these regulations of cars. 

If Alpine were languishing at the back of the midfield, they would have little leverage in negotiations with Piastri, who could decide to push more aggressively in contract talks with other teams. 

But this is not the case, so Piastri's best option will be to show his skills in a "loan" spell with Williams to prove his worth.

In the same way that Leclerc, Russell, and several young talents have had to prove themselves at the back of the field, Piastri might have to settle for the bottom of the F1 ladder and work his way up. 

The top three teams are all locked in for 2023, and the likes of McLaren and Aston Martin are either unrealistic or relatively unexciting projects, at least for now. 

Alonso is still performing at an extremely high level, so it would be a mistake for Alpine to miss out on an opportunity to secure Piastri a seat with Williams whilst pushing ahead with Alonso for the next two seasons. 

Still, expect more developments in this critical part of the driver market.