Oscar Piastri rejects Alpine F1 offer amid McLaren Daniel Ricciardo rumor

It’s called silly season for a reason, but it just gets silly.

A dramatic series of events unfolded in Formula 1 overnight – and at this point nothing has been resolved.

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The circus began when Fernando Alonso stunned Alpine by revealing he was fleeing the team to join Aston Martin, which needed a new driver after Sebastian Vettel retired.

This left Alpine with an egg in its face and in an attempt to remove said egg, the fourth-ranked outfit announced they were promoting young Australian gunman Oscar Piastri to the vacant seat.

Piastri, who has been Alpine’s reserve driver this season after winning back-to-back F2 and F3 championships, is set to join the grid in 2023 and appeared to have decided his future when this statement was released just after 2am morning (AEST).

But less than two hours later, Piastri further embarrassed Alpine by dismissing his claim that he had accepted the promotion.

“I understand that, without my consent, Alpine F1 issued a press release late this afternoon stating that I will be driving for them next year,” Piastri said.

“It’s wrong and I haven’t signed a contract with Alpine for 2023. I won’t be driving for Alpine next year.”

The madness kept coming. Shortly after Piastri’s tweet, the BBC quoted an Alpine spokesperson as saying, “We believe our statement is legally correct, but we have nothing further to say.”

But that’s only half the story.

The other uncomfortable development for Australian racing fans has been reports that Piastri is on a collision course with compatriot Daniel Ricciardo.

Ricardo last week reaffirmed its commitment to McLaren but has endured the toughest times as Lando Norris’ partner in recent years.

It appears Piastri – and his manager, Australian F1 legend Mark Webber – read the tea leaves and watched Ricciardo’s seat before they knew Alonso was about to make room at Alpine.

There was even a report which claimed they had reached an agreement with the British manufacturer, which will no doubt be tested in court if Alpine feels they are in breach of their agreement with the 21-year-old from Melbourne.

Asked by sports car On Piastri’s potential move to McLaren, Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer replied: “I’m not aware of any prior arrangements he (Webber) has with McLaren, if at all.

“But I hear the same rumors you do in the pit lane. But what I know is that he has contractual obligations to us. And we do to him. And we have honored those obligations every year.

“And those bonds, last until 23, and maybe 24, if certain options are taken.

“So we have a legal contract with him in the future for ’23. And if an option is taken, for ’24. So I don’t know what he did with McLaren. Like I said, I’m not unaware of this.

“Oscar and his camp are considering their options, whatever that means.”

Piastri has been forced to bide his time as Alpine’s reserve rider this year, despite winning three straight titles during a stellar career as a junior rider.

F1 commentator Martin Brundle predicted last month that the Australian would find a way to the 2023 grid.

“Piastri has to be in F1 next year no matter what and whatever happens he has to take it,” Brundle said.

“He has to top whatever he gets like Mark Webber did at Minardi and (Ayrton) Senna did at Toleman for example.

“It won’t be easy for Oscar but it’s not out of the question.”

There was speculation he could be loaned out to Williams as a replacement for underachieving Canadian Nicholas Latifi, but Alonso’s exit created a domino effect that left the only three Australians to race at the top level from the start. of the 1990s.

Originally published as Australian youngster Oscar Piastri drops F1 bombshell, embarrassing his current team