McLaren expects Alpine will keep Piastri until the end of the F1 season

Piastri will race for McLaren next year after a contract saga over the summer saw Alpine claim they have a deal in place for him to race in 2023, only the Contract Recognition Board ruled in favor of McLaren.

After losing the case, Alpine said he would review his existing relationship with Piastri which could open the doors for him to join McLaren soon.

But Piastri has since continued to work with Alpine in the simulator over race weekends, letting McLaren expect that he will not connect with the Australian until the end of the season.

Asked if Alpine’s signing of Gasly for 2023 would help McLaren seek an early release for Piastri, team principal Andreas Seidl said: “I don’t think it changes much in reality.

“They are still planning to continue with the program, as far as I know, with Oscar until the end of the season.

“So, there’s really no news.”

Andreas Seidl, Team Principal, McLaren, Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL36

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Had McLaren been able to draft at Piastri before the end of the season, they would have been eligible to meet his young driver requirement for this year’s two FP1 sessions.

But the team announced that these sessions will be held by 2021 IndyCar champion Alex Palou and Arrow McLaren SP IndyCar driver Pato O’Ward in Austin and Abu Dhabi respectively.

Alpine has yet to solidify its plans for young drivers’ racing in FP1, but must complete the requirements in the last four races.

Alpine had planned to give the sessions to Piastri as early as the French Grand Prix in mid-July, but team boss Otmar Szafnauer told Suzuka he was “unsure” whether the Australian would be present in any of the last four events.

An alternative option for Alpine would be Formula 2 driver Jack Doohan, whose impressive rookie campaign in the category put him in contention for the spot that was eventually taken by Gasly.

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Szafnauer said Alpine “will begin to think more seriously” about its young driver plans for 2023 now that its lineup is complete, but indicated Doohan’s priority would be to fight for the F2 title next season.

“Jack’s immediate goal must be to win the F2 championship next year,” said Szafnauer.

“We will support him during this process and help him along the way and also give him some time in the car to prepare him for Formula 1.

“But yeah, we’re going to start looking at it now that we’ve got through this step [confirming Gasly]. “

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