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F1 | Szafnauer: Alonso/Piastri futures could be decided around British GP

Esteban Ocon is under a long term contract at Alpine but the Frenchman's team mate is yet to be decided. Otmar Szafnauer reckons the decision could be made around the British Grand Prix in mid-July.

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F1 | Szafnauer: Alonso/Piastri futures could be decided around British GP
Fuente imagen: Hasan Bratic-MotorLat

Alpine team Principal Otmar Szafnauer reckons mid-July is the likeliest time to decide Oscar Piastri’s and Fernando Alonso’s futures.

The Enstone based team has 25-year-old Esteban Ocon under a long-term contract but Ocon’s team mate is yet to be decided for the next year.

Fernando Alonso’s deal expires at the end of this campaign but seems keen to continue in Formula 1 beyond 2022.

Alonso has been ultra impressive since his F1 return last year and scored a podium at the Qatar Grand Prix last season.

Alpine’s current reserve driver Piastri enjoyed a superb junior career winning three titles in a row including a dominant F2 Championship win in 2021.

The Australian’s career could lose momentum if he isn’t racing in 2023 so Alpine will need to decide the best way forward for their young protégé. 

If the French manufacturer decide to keep Alonso, Piastri could be loaned out to another team, with Williams a front runner for the Melbournian’s services.

Asked by Motorsport.com about the timing of any decision on this front, Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer reckoned that mid-July would be most likely.

“We haven't thought that through yet, because it's a little bit early,” he said. “But around Silverstone we will probably be talking about it.”

Nicholas Latifi has struggled to match his team mate Alex Albon so far this season and speculation has surfaced of the team making an in-season driver transfer. 

There has been talk of Piastri joining Williams before the end of the season to drive partner Albon.

Szafnauer was clear, however, that no discussions had taken place on this front – although he said he would be open to finding any opportunity for Piastri to get more mileage.

“I haven't considered that deeply yet,” he said. “I don’t know what’s happening at Williams, but I’ve heard the rumours.

“In the past, when McLaren have come to us and said, ‘Hey, can we use him [Piastri] as a reserve driver?’, we said yes.

“The reason for that is, the more seat time that he can get instead of sitting out, the better. So we would have that strategically in mind. But as far as what’s happening at Williams, I don’t know.”

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