Alpine confirm Fernando Alonso replacement as McLaren's Oscar Piastri move blocked

Alpine have confirmed Fernando Alonso will be replaced by reserve driver Oscar Piastri for the 2023 season after the veteran driver announced his departure to Aston Martin. The Enstone team moved swiftly to block Piastri’s potential move to McLaren and handed their junior driver a spot racing alongside Esteban Ocon next season.

The Australian is currently contracted as Alpine’s reserve for this season and the French team held the option to promote him to a full drive, according to team principal Otmar Szafnauer.

“After four years as part of the Renault and Alpine family, Reserve Driver Oscar Piastri is promoted to a race seat alongside Esteban Ocon starting from 2023,” the team tweeted on Tuesday.

It comes after Alonso’s surprise move to Aston Martin to fill the void left by Sebastian Vettel, who is retiring at the end of the season, with Alpine only discovering the 41-year-old’s switch on social media after holding talks with Alonson on Sunday.

But they will now move forward with one of the youngest driver pairings on the grid with Ocon and Piastri, with Szafnauer hailing the 21-year-old’s potential.

“Oscar is a bright and rare talent,” said Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer. “We are proud to have nurtured and supported him through the difficult pathways of the junior formulae. Through our collaboration over the past four years, we have seen him develop and mature into a driver who is more than capable of taking the step up to Formula 1.

“As our reserve driver he has been exposed to the team at the track, factory and testing where he has shown the maturity, promise and speed to ensure his promotion to our second seat alongside Esteban. Together, we believe the duo will give us the continuity we need to achieve our long-term goal of challenging for wins and championships.”

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