Skip to main content

Otmar Szfanauer has admitted he does not know where Oscar Piastri will be driving in 2023, adding that Alonso's departure from the team to Aston Martin was a complete shock. 

The Alpine team principal told Autosport.com that when he approached Oscar Piastri's camp, he was informed that "Oscar and his camp are considering their options, whatever that means."

Whilst the team principal insists Piastri has obligations to Alpine, his comments indicate the French squad is completely in the dark. 

Szafanauer also stressed that Alpine and Piastri are contractually bound, but there was no hiding the sense that the French squad has been caught completely by surprise by recent events:

"I hear the same rumours that you do in the pitlane. But what I do know is that he does have contractual obligations to us. And we do to him. And we've been honouring those obligations all year.

2022 Spanish Grand Prix Saturday
Scroll to Continue

Read More

"And those obligations, last through '23, and possibly in '24, if some options are taken up.

“And our obligations to him this year was to be a reserve driver, to also put him in last year's car for a significant amount of time. We're well over half that programme of 5000 kilometres, which isn't insignificant, in last year's car, in preparation for a race next year."

"But I've been trying to get hold of Mark [Webber, Piastri's manager] and wrote some text messages and some emails to him, as well. So give us a bit of time. Oscar is our number one preferred candidate. And that's what we're going to do."

Otmar Szafnauer's quotes demonstrate Alpine's impossible position, having been caught completely unawares by Alonso's switch to Aston Martin. 

By spending so much time in failed negotiations with Alonso, Alpine led Piastri to believe he would not drive for the main team in 2023, thus encouraging the Australian to explore other options. 

Piastri and his manager Mark Webber have certainly done this, as it is now widely reported that a pre-agreement has been reached between Piastri and McLaren. 

It remains to be seen if this agreement was for 2023 and 2024, but for Alpine to use their legal position to guarantee Piastri's future with the team suggests that team Enstone has lost control. 

Alpine will fight to keep such a valuable asset in Piastri, but they will spend weeks and months knowing they have been caught napping by rival teams in F1.