Piastri says he will not drive for Alpine despite promotion to F1

LONDON (AP) – Oscar Piastri said on Tuesday he will not drive for Alpine next season, just hours after the Formula 1 team promoted the Australian reserve driver to replace Fernando Alonso.

Alonso surprised the team on Monday when he told Alpine that he will move to Aston Martin next year. It took Alpine just one day to announce that it would be promoting its 21-year-old burgeoning talent to race alongside Esteban Ocon in 2023.

But the Melbourne resident said that’s not happening.

“I understand that Alpine F1 released a press release late this afternoon without my permission that I will be driving for them next year. This is not true and I have not signed a contract with Alpine before 2023. I will not be driving for Alpine next year,” he wrote on Twitter.

Alpine’s press release contained no comments from Piastri. There has been speculation that the current F2 champion was working on a better deal with another team.

In Alpine’s announcement, team boss Otmar Szafnauer said Piastri is “a brilliant and rare talent” who is “more than capable of taking the step into Formula 1.”

Aston Martin signed 41-year-old Alonso, a two-time world champion, on Monday to replace Sebastian Vettel, who announced his retirement last week. Alonso’s contract with Alpine expired this season.

It has been six hectic days of F1’s “silly season” that kicked off ahead of the Hungarian grand prix, with Vettel announcing that he will be retiring at the end of the year. Alpine said Alonso had given the team no indication that he would be leaving so late Sunday night after the race, and the Piastri promotion was quickly announced. Williams, meanwhile, said American driver Logan Sargeant will make his F1 debut during the first practice session at the United States Grand Prix later this year. Sargeant, a current Florida F2 driver, will be the first American to compete in an F1 weekend since Alexander Rossi in 2015.

Alpine said Piastri has already undergone “an intensive and extensive training program” this season to “prepare him for the next big step” in F1.

“As our reserve driver, he has been exposed to the team on the track, in the factory and in testing where he has shown the maturity, promise and speed to ensure his promotion to our second seat alongside Esteban,” said Szafnauer. “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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