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Formula 1

Piastri on Alpine F1 sim duties for Belgian GP

by Scott Mitchell-Malm, Valentin Khorounzhiy
2 min read

McLaren’s presumptive 2023 Formula 1 signing Oscar Piastri is continuing his work with his current team Alpine for this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps.

However, there remains no confirmation over whether the Aussie will have to give up the free practice runs and remaining 2021 car testing that he’d been set for in his role as Alpine’s current reserve driver.

Alpine had unilaterally announced Piastri as one of its race drivers for 2023 following the news it would lose Fernando Alonso – but Piastri himself is instead set on replacing McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo, now officially confirmed as departing.

The matter is now firmly in legal wranglings territory, with Alpine having hinted it would seek taking the case to the UK High Court to at least ensure it is compensated for its investments into Piastri if he elects not to race for it.

But while the situation remains in limbo, Alpine looks to be proceeding with Piastri as an available resource, and for the post-summer break Belgian GP the former Formula 3 and Formula 2 champion will carry out the conventional F1 role of in-weekend simulator support from back at base.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Canadian Grand Prix Practice Day Montreal, Canada

Public appearances with the team and actual mileage are both clearly different matters, however, and while Piastri had been named as Alpine’s driver for the two free practice sessions it – like every team – needs to field rookie drivers in during 2022, it is difficult to imagine how that would work.

Before the McLaren saga, Piastri was due to make his FP1 debut for Alpine at either Spa or Monza.

He also hasn’t seen out his allotted 2021 car testing programme yet, which Alpine says comprises 5000km for the season.

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