Laurent Rossi, head of Alpine, has made it clear this Saturday at Paul Ricard that Alonso is the first option of the French team for next year and that they work “on scenarios” that allow Piastri to get into a Formula 1 also in 2023 , but transferred to another team. There has never been a debate, although there has been media noise. Szafnauer always referred to the two-time Spanish champion as essential at Enstone, although the constant praise for the young Piastri could easily be misunderstood. “Fernando’s contract ends this year so we are talking to him and preparing scenarios for him and for Oscar (Piastri). The idea is that they are both valuable drivers and we would like them to drive next year.” The two on the grill? “I think so”.
“We are working on scenarios for the two to drive, they are plausible and sensible and we imagine they will convince both drivers. I can’t say more. I’d be open to loaning Oscar out as long as we get him back, we’ve invested a lot in him and he’s a promising talent. A transfer, like many other drivers who have started in another team to learn and then return, would be a good option”, says the person in charge. He has been offered to Williams and they dream of placing him at McLaren. The first is plausible, the second is no longer. In the other car, Ocon has a contract until 2024.
That does not mean that Alonso’s renewal is a matter of hours. According to the sources of this medium, the conversations exist and are natural, but Fernando is demanding because he wants to see commitment and ambition in Alpine to take a step forward and not settle for fourth place in the championship, worthy for most teams, but aspire to poles, podiums and victories in the medium term. In addition, now Rossi clarifies that, after Formula 1, Le Mans can be a project that attracts Fernando without changing his jersey: “It has always been part of the discussions, even when we talk about the renewal for 2022. Fernando is a legend of sport and Renault, our champion, will always have a place in our LMDH the day he changes, he will be welcome in this team. In addition, we always made the decision thinking of him”.
“Let’s go up”
Otherwise, Rossi is satisfied with the progress of the Alpine A522, although Friday was a difficult day at the home Grand Prix. “We are fourth, tied with McLaren, so fifth technically. The car is faster and it is easy to work with it. The disadvantage with the fourth is zero, last year it was unattainable so we are going up. Now we have to correct the small mistakes of the car and the team, we make mistakes, of course. We have to get both cars to the same part of the race and not have one in front and one behind.
On the possible demise of the race at Paul Ricard: “I don’t know if it’s on next year’s calendar or not, but I’d be very disappointed. And I’m not saying this as the manager of a French team, or as a French citizen. France is a racing country, it has given a lot to this sport, a large audience, many fans. It would be unfair to withdraw a grand prix as important as this one from the calendar. It would be weird. I hope it continues.”