Let’s rewind for those who haven’t been following the History (with a capital H, yes yes) of the week (/month/season): Alpine, solidly clinging to fourth position in the Constructors’ World Championship, began to think about the vintage. 2023. The initial idea: extend Spain’s Fernando Alonso by another year, before steering him towards the car entered in the Endurance Championship, then see promising young Australian Oscar Piastri take over in 2024. And in the meantime, wedge Piastri to Williams so he can gain experience.
It was as nice as a Lewis Hamilton Friday dress, it ended like a Nikita Mazepin Sunday lap: in a monumental crash. Alonso declines and leaves for Aston Martin, Piastri refuses to drive Williams and prefers McLaren to Alpine, and here is the French team in the rooster’s favorite theme… But who will be able to support Esteban Ocon next year? We take stock of the tracks (with our forecasts on a wet finger).
Why could it be him? The 33-year-old Australian driver knows the house well, having driven for Renault for two years, before preferring to go to McLaren, believing the English team would be more competitive. It has since been completely lost. His teammate Lando Norris makes him his toy at every race, and Ricciardo is left with only his legendary smile and colorful suits to shine. So much so that he thinks McLaren would like to exfiltrate him.
Why can it be blocked? Because the Australian still has a year left on his contract, and if McLaren wants to get rid of him, they must also find a replacement of his caliber.
Possibilities of achievement: 70% “I don’t think there would be any problem if Daniel came back,” anticipated Omar Szafnauer, director of Alpine.
Why could it be him? The Frenchman is undoubtedly the least gifted driver on the board. His Alpha Tauri isn’t working this season, even though he’s been working miracles with it for years (RedBull’s parenthesis aside). Gasly dominates his teammate Tsunoda GP after GP, unable to hope to aim for the podium, not even better than small points. There is no doubt that the prospect of driving an Alpine will make him salivate. And then a duo of French riders in Alpine, which will give great stories to tell.
Why can it be blocked? Let’s skip the legend of the disagreement between Gasly and Ocon (old karting stories), to get directly to the contractual problem. Gasly is a RedBull driver and still has one year left on his contract. Helmut Marko not being the most charming boss, we won’t bet on his ability to release the Frenchman for services rendered, when he knows he won’t find better on the market.
Possibilities of achievement: 20% “Pierre will continue to race for Scuderia AlphaTauri in 2023. He is 100% confirmed with a valid contract, there is nothing more to add,” Alpha Tauri boss Franz Tost said in June.
Why could it be him? Formula 2 pilot where he is in second place in the classification, the Frenchman Théo Pourchaire (18 years old) is announced as a great talent. In an F1 that no longer hesitates to field ever younger drivers, his age is not an issue. And as for Gasly, the prospect of a blue-white-red duo in the blue-white-red team agrees with the fans (probably less for the team, which wants to give itself a global image ).
Why can it be blocked? Pourchaire has a contract with Sauber-Alfa Romeo, and the Italo-Swiss count on him. From next season?
Possibilities of achievement: 9% French, debutant, under contract with another team: there are many handicaps to really believe in this option.
Why could it be him? The German four-time world champion (35) is having a nightmare this year at Aston Martin. To the point that he announced last week to retire. But Alpine knows how to arouse passion. The test, Alonso, before returning to the blues, had also left F1. The prospect of playing the big points could serve as an elixir of youth for Vettel.
Why can it be blocked? Vettel has gone green and no longer supports F1’s carbon circus. So, even with a Zoé and an SNCF Frequency card, you’re not sure you’re ready to continue in the big CO2 bath.
Possibilities of achievement: 0.99% The German hasn’t been competitive for years, it’s hard to imagine Alpine chasing him.
Why could it be him? After all, the Australian is a Renault driver. Omar Szafnauer assured that the team had full freedom to decide their future. And the French have been convinced of his talent for years.
Why can it be blocked? Obviously, we can’t imagine that Piastri’s tweet assuring that he wouldn’t race next season at Alpine hasn’t been re-read 200 times by his lawyers. And contract stories aside, this snub bodes ill for a correction in the coming weeks.
Possibilities of achievement: 0.1% It is likely that Piastri has already signed a contract with McLaren.