Alfa Romeo team principal Fred Vasseur has downplayed Oscar Piastri’s chances of playing for the Swiss team next year, suggesting that the Australian will eventually get his shot at Alpine.
Piastri has impressed this season and is currently leading the F2 championship, further establishing his reputation as one of the rising stars on the circuit after his victory in the F3 series last year.
Ferarri star Charles Leclerc endorsed the Australian in making a name for himself once he gets his shot at the top tier and expressed disbelief as to why the 20-year-old Australian has not secured a spot on an F1 team. by 2022.
Piastri says they expect more F1 opportunities in 2021
However, there is only one place left on the F1 grid for next year, and Alfa Romeo has yet to announce the identity of Valtteri Bottas’ teammate. Piastri told Wide World of Sports recently that he does not expect to receive the call.
And Vasseur’s comments practically confirmed the Australian’s admission and added weight to the idea that he will sign a test and reserve driver contract with Alpine for 2022, with a view to replacing two-time world champion Fernando Alonso on the racing team in 2023.
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The favorite for the remaining seat for next year is Chinese driver Guanyu Zhou, despite being overtaken by Piastri in qualifying in his rookie season in F2. Vasseur had no illusions about Piastri’s talent and hopes a rival F1 team will pick him up.
The Alfa Romeo boss added that it wouldn’t make much sense for Alpine to take the Australian through its junior system and then hand him over to another team.
“Oscar is doing a very good job and was very consistent over the last few weekends, but as far as I know, he is linked to Renault or Alpine,” Vasseur said.
“If you invest in a driver for all junior categories and you have a long-term program with him, I don’t see the point of letting him go to another team, it would be strange,” he explained.
“He’s doing a very, very strong job, but it’s clear that he’s one of the best on the field today and he did a great job last year fighting until the last event,” he said.
“He is one of the young men who will surely succeed in F1.”
While Alfa Romeo was expected to announce Bottas’s partner imminently, Vasseur confirmed that the team has delayed the decision for now.
“We are in no rush to make this decision,” he said. “We have a couple of options on the table and we have to take time to decide, but we are in no rush.”
“The situation will not change in the next few days and we will make a decision soon.”
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