Let’s rewind for those who haven’t followed History (with a capital H, yes yes) to the week (/month/season): Alpine, firmly holding fourth place in the constructors’ world championship, started to think about the vintage 2023. The initial idea: extend the Spanish quadra Fernando Alonso for a year, before directing him to the car that entered the endurance championship, then see the young and promising Australian Oscar Piastri will take over in 2024. And in the meantime, wedge Piastri in Williams so he can gain experience.
It was as good as a Friday dress of Lewis Hamilton, it ended like a Sunday lap of Nikita Mazepin: in a big crash. Alonso refused and went to Aston Martin, Piastri refused to drive Williams and preferred McLaren to Alpine, and here is the French team in the favorite topic of the chicken … But who can support Esteban Ocon next year? We take stock of the slopes (with our wet finger predictions).
Why is he? The 33-year-old Australian driver is well known at home, driving a Renault for two years, before wanting to go to McLaren, believing that the English team will be more competitive. Since then he has completely disappeared. His teammate Lando Norris made him his toy at every race, and Ricciardo only had his legendary smile and colorful clothes left to shine. To the point where he thought McLaren wanted to exfiltrate him.
Why can it be blocked? Because there is still one year left on the Australian’s contract, and if McLaren wants to get rid of him, he will also need to find a replacement of his caliber.
Achievement opportunities: 70% “I don’t think it will be a problem if Daniel is back,” expected Omar Szafnauer, Alpine’s director.
Why is he? The Frenchman is undoubtedly the most under-endowed driver on the board. His Alpha Tauri is not working this time, although he has worked miracles with it for years (if we discard the RedBull parenthesis). Gasly dominated his teammate Tsunoda GP after GP, with no hope of aiming for the podium, or better than the minor points. No doubt the prospect of driving an Alpine makes him salivate. And then a duo of French Alpine pilots, who will give many stories to tell.
Why can it be blocked? Let’s pass 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 has one year left on his contract. Helmut Marko is not the most charming of bosses, we will not bet on his ability to release the French for the services provided, if he knows that he will not find better in the market.
Achievement opportunities: 20% “Pierre will still race for Scuderia AlphaTauri in 2023. He is 100% confirmed with a valid contract, nothing else to add”, said Franz Tost, the boss of Alpha Tauri, in June.
Why is he? Formula 2 pilot where he is in second place in the standings, Frenchman Théo Pourchaire (18 years old) is announced as a great talent. In an F1 that no longer hesitates to launch young and young drivers, his age is not a problem. And for Gasly, the hope of a blue-white-red duo in the blue-white-red team, it fits for the fans (perhaps not so much for the team, which wants to give itself a global image).
Why can it be blocked? Pourchaire is under contract with Sauber-Alfa Romeo, and the Italian-Swiss trusts him. From next season?
Achievement opportunities: 9% The Frenchman, rookie, under contract with another team: that’s too many shortcomings to really believe in this option.
Why is he? The quadruple German world champion (35) has been going through a nightmare this year at Aston Martin. To the point that he announced last week that he will bow out. But Alpine knows how to spark love. The proof, Alonso, before returning to the Blues, again sailed far in F1. The prospect of playing for big points could serve as an elixir of youth for Vettel.
Why can it be blocked? Vettel has gone green, and is no longer supporting F1’s carbon circus. So, even with a Zoé and a SNCF Frequency card, it is not sure that he is ready to continue in the big CO2 bath.
Achievement opportunities: 0.99% The German hasn’t been competitive in years, it’s hard to imagine Alpine following him.
Why is he? After all, the Australian is a Renault driver. Omar Szafnauer assured that the team has complete freedom to decide its 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 promising he won’t race next season at Alpine hasn’t been re-read 200 times by his lawyers. And contract stories aside, such a snub bodes ill for a patch in the coming weeks.
Achievement opportunities: 0.1% It is likely that Piastri has already signed a contract with McLaren.