The Formula 1 debut of Oscar Piastri is now a formality following confirmation Fernando Alonso will leave Alpine at the end of the season.
The team’s current reserve driver, the Australian had been caught in something of a holding pattern behind the two-time world champion and Esteban Ocon.
It was largely thought that he would be loaned out, most likely to Williams, as something of a stop gap as Alpine renewed Alonso for another two seasons.
However, with the Spaniard now moving aside at the Anglo-French team to join Aston Martin, the path is open for Piastri to step into the drive.
The 21-year-old has been working through a busy testing program aboard last year’s A521, quietly logging laps at a host of circuits.
He’s also set to take the wheel in two Free Practice 1 sessions once Formula 1 returns from the summer break at the end of the month.
That will see him take over Alonso’s seat on one of those occasions in a prelude of the team’s 2023 line-up.
Piastri’s move has not been confirmed, though it is widely expected following strong comments from Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer and CEO Laurent Rossi.
Both have spoken positively of the young Melburnian in recent weeks, voicing their confidence in the fact he’ll be on the grid in 2023.
“We are working on scenarios for both of them to drive, and scenarios that are very plausible, very sensible, and we imagine will satisfy those drivers,” Rossi said when asked by Speedcafe.com just a week ago why he was confident Piastri would be on the grid.
“That’s why I can’t say more.”
Speaking over the course of the Canadian Grand Prix weekend, Szafnauer said simply “yes” when asked if he thought the F2 champion would be in F1 next season.
It is now clear that it will be in Alpine blue.