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Over the past two weeks, the two Fernando Alonso as the directive Alpine they assured that the pilot’s future would be resolved quickly. Alonso himself said last Thursday that it would only take a 10 minute conversation to do it.
This part is probably true. You may not even have needed 10 minutes to say, “Guys, I’m leaving.”
There is no doubt about it: this is a big, big change in the market for F1 drivers. the seat of Aston Martin which had been published after the announcement of the withdrawal of Sebastian Vettel This was always going to be key, as a variety of names were drawn to the same one.
Of course, that of Alonso was also in the bag, having had conversations with Lawrence Promenade before finally signing with Alpine for his return after two years of absence. However, few would have expected things to move so quickly.
Losing a pilot of Alonso’s experience and caliber is a big success for Alpine. But the team can take comfort in the fact that they are solving the huge problem they face in 2023: what to do with Oscar Piastri.
Alpine had been locked in a classic dilemma in Formula 1, that of “three drivers and two places”, which many other teams have faced in the past. Stephen Ocon I had a long term contract Alonso I was doing great performances and Piastre, the reserve driver was waiting for him with his prize list in hand, which is the envy of everyone.
CEO of Alpine, laurent rossideclared in France that he was convinced that Alonso and Piastri to race in F1 next yearindicating that Alonso would stay and Piastri would be loaned out to another team. williams was the planned destination for the young Aussie, replacing Nicholas Latifibut with time, McLaren was also sketched out as a possible future seat, just in case Daniel Ricardo He will leave at the end of the season.
From the start it was very clear that Alpine did not want to lose Piastri. Rossi He stressed that he would only seek to transfer him to another team, not let him go completely, which would have happened if he had not secured an F1 seat by 2023. Faith in his future is total.
As much as Alpine did not want to lose Alonso, having Piastri in his pocket would have given him some support in conversations. If Alonso had gone to Alpine bosses and used Aston Martin’s interest as a bargaining chip to get a better deal, it’s unlikely there would have been the same fear of what life would be like. without Alonso. Piastri could be the solution to this problem.
Or so it seems. The lengthy talks have raised questions about the coming de Piastri and Alpine together, and whether that might have opened the door for another team to take him, given that his initial deal included several urgent clauses, set around the summer. During the Hungarian weekend, it was increasingly rumored that McLaren that could be an option if Ricciardo leaves, or he could even look further afield and aim for 2024. If Alpine were so sure Alonso would continue, would Piastri have slipped their hands already?
But the domino effect in the drivers’ market, it goes beyond Alonso for Aston Martin and Piastri obtaining, following this move, an opportunity at Alpine. In fact, Alpine may not be the only team that has the opportunity to capitalize on a young rider they have backed and can now make long-term plans with.
If Williams wanted to look long-term and invest in his own talent, then Logan Sargeantthe main member of its young drivers academy and who is currently third in the world championship formula 2, was a more reasonable option. Sargeant missed out on the F3 title to Piastri in 2020 by just four points, and bounced back from financial setbacks to impress everyone in his maiden F2 campaign this year.
Another candidate for Williams would be Nyck de Vrieswho had been considered for this year before signing Alex Albon as a partner of Latifi. De Vries is highly regarded by Capito and has earned his stripes through the titles he won in Formula 2 and Formula E, but at 27 he has less of a future than Sargeant, 21, and lacks the commercial dynamism it would involve putting an American driver on the grid, which would also have great appeal for F1.
Like last year after the passage of george russell a mercedesWilliams’ free seat is the one that could be the master piece during gossip season and does not need to be busy immediately. Sargeant has yet to earn the points needed for the F1 super license, but he will if he stays in contention for the F2 title, and if you’re a driver who needs a seat, he might be an option. .
best move of Ricardo, undoubtedly, it is not a question of moving. But if things had gotten to a point where change was the only option, would Aston Martin have been a viable landing spot? It’s quite unlikely. For all his talent and success, Ricciardo does not match with the image that Aston Martin sought to portray to the world with its team under Stroll ownership. While the commitment from both sides to get Ricciardo working at Woking is real, Alonso’s decision won’t change anything. But should he leave McLaren, there is now one less alternative on the table.
The decisions will have huge ramifications on the driver market and have already kicked off rumors season, just as the paddock planned to rest for the summer break.