Confusion abounds as Oscar Piastri refutes Alpine’s claim he will race for them in 2023

Oscar Piastri says he will not replace Fernando Alonso at Alpine next season – after the team said he would.

Alpine announced on Tuesday afternoon that the 21-year-old would race “in line with the commitments made by the team to the young Australian”.

But Piastri then tweeted that he had “not signed a contract with Alpine for 2023 and will not be driving for them next year”.

He said the announcement was “wrong” and had come “without my agreement”.

The dispute comes at the end of an extraordinary two days for the team.

Alpine left the Hungarian Grand Prix believing they were close to an agreement with two-time world champion Alonso to continue with them in 2023, and were trying to place Piastri at Williams on a temporary basis.

But on Monday morning, Aston Martin announced they had signed Alonso, Alpine’s most competitive driver this year, to a “multi-year contract”.

On Tuesday morning, Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer held a news conference in which he admitted that Alonso’s announcement had surprised the team, and that it had been a result of a disagreement with the 41-year-old Spaniard over the length of the contract.

Piastri won the 2021 Formula 2 Championship.

Alpine were offering only a one-year deal with an option for 2024, while Alonso wanted a guarantee he would race for at least two years, Szafnauer said, confirming information widely known within F1.

Szafanuer told reporters he was unable to confirm Piastri would race, despite having “contractual obligations”.

But then Alpine put out a statement on Tuesday afternoon saying Piastri would race after all.

However, the fact that there was no quote from Piastri in the media release fuelled suspicions that Alpine had acted unilaterally.

Piastri, 21, is known to have had conversations with McLaren in recent weeks.

Szafnauer had admitted that Piastri’s unwillingness to drive for Williams was “a consideration” and said he was “not privy to whatever pre-arrangement [Piastri] has with McLaren, if any any all”.

He added: “I do know he does have contractual obligations to us and we do to him. We have been honouring those obligations all year.

“We do have a legal contract with him into the future with ’23 and and if an option is taken up, for ’24.”

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