Oscar Piastri has insisted he will not be driving for Formula 1 team Alpine next season hours after his appointment as Fernando Alonso’s replacement had been announced.
Alpine issued a press release on Tuesday afternoon in which it said the 21-year-old Australian had been promoted from reserve driver to partner Esteban Ocon during the 2023 season, prompting a swift response.
Piastri said in a post on his official Twitter account: “I understand that, without my agreement, Alpine F1 have put out a press release late this afternoon that I am driving for them next year.
“This is wrong and I have not signed a contract with Alpine for 2023. I will not be driving for Alpine next year.”
In the Alpine announcement, team principal Otmar Szafnauer had praised Piastri as a “rare talent” who is “more than capable” of making the move into Formula 1.
Szafnauer said: “Oscar is a bright and rare talent. We are proud to have nurtured and supported him through the difficult pathways of the junior formulae.
“Through our collaboration over the past four years, we have seen him develop and mature into a driver who is more than capable of taking the step up to Formula 1.
“As our reserve driver he has been exposed to the team at the track, factory and testing where he has shown the maturity, promise and speed to ensure his promotion to our second seat alongside Esteban.
“Together, we believe the duo will give us the continuity we need to achieve our long-term goal of challenging for wins and championships.”
Just where the latest development leaves both Piastri and Alpine, who need to replace Alonso after his decision to leave for Aston Martin to take over from the retiring Sebastian Vettel, remains to be seen.
The Australian joined the Alpine Academy as a teenager and became just the third man after Charles Leclerc and George Russell to win back-to-back drivers’ championships in Formula 2 and Formula 3.