The Formula 1 world is brimming with news about the drivers’ market for the upcoming 2023 season, and it all started with–Fernando Alonso leaving Alpine. The 2-time World Champion announced his move to Aston Martin to take Sebastian Vettel’s place a few months ago, shortly after Seb announced his retirement from F1 following the current season. Then, it fell upon Alpine to choose a suitable replacement for Alonso’s seat, and their eyes were, obviously, on F2 2021 Champion Oscar Piastri.
Piastri, who is currently serving as a reserve driver under Alpine, set off some massive waves in the drivers’ market as he had a number of teams eyeing a deal with him. In fact, Alpine had even announced the Australian as their newest recruit when the 21-year-old clarified that he has not finalized any contract with the French team. In the end, Piastri settled with a seat at McLaren, after the British team prematurely terminated their deal with Daniel Ricciardo to welcome Piastri aboard.
Hence, Alpine is still looking for the best driver to fill in Fernando Alonso’s seat after Piastri walked out. Earlier, their Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer had revealed they were considering 14 drivers who might be fit for the job. But now, in an interview with RacingNews365, Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi gave an update that they have shortlisted 6 potential candidates for joining them team.
Laurent Rossi comments on the current status of Alpine’s recruitment of a new teammate for Esteban Ocon
Alpine has nurtured Oscar Piastri during his time with the team as a reserve driver, and they were quite sure to take him up as Fernando Alonso’s replacement once the Spaniard exited. But Piastri almost blindsided the executives at Alpine as he took up McLaren’s offer, and now Laurent Rossi has stated that the team is moving on from the entire fiasco with the Australian racer.
He said, “The disappointment stems from having invested so much and the loyalty you show someone, you don’t expect them not to give it back like everyone else. But we will find a driver who will drive the car, and in the end the car is still the performance differentiator.”
With that being said, Alpine is currently on the hunt for their next recruit and if Rossi’s words are to be believed, the team will be announcing their new racer in a short while. Speaking of the recruitment, Laurent Rossi said, “We’ll take our time, we don’t want to make a mistake. We chose 14 drivers, as Otmar previously announced. Now we are down to six. By the end of September we should have a good idea on who we want to sign.”
Now, it remains to be seen who is the driver that gets lucky with a call for joining Alpine’s project in the upcoming season. The French team has been on the up throughout this current 2022 Championship, with numerous top 10 finishes and is currently in the 4th position, with 18 points more than their mid-field rival McLaren.