Alpine confident of keeping Oscar Piastri to replace Fernando Alonso next season in F1

Alpine keeping Oscar Piastri
Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

Alpine principal Otmar Szafnauer remains confident that the team will be keeping Oscar Piastri for next season after the matter is decided by a Formula One board.

Alpine is in dispute with its reserve driver Piastri, who said he doesn’t want a promotion to the Alpine seat vacated by Fernando Alonso.

Szafnauer confirmed Friday that Piastri also has signed a contract with McLaren for 2023. The matter will go before F1’s Contract Recognition Board (CRB) next week.

“What we’re doing to retain him is going to the CRB on Monday and we’ll have the CRB decide which contract that Oscar signed takes precedence. Once we have that ruling we’ll look forward and see how we go,” Szafnauer said Saturday. “I’ve seen both sides of the argument and we’re confident that Oscar signed with us back in November. There are certain things that need to be in the contract and I’m confident they are there.”

The case could have ripple effects in the NTT IndyCar Series, where McLaren has a testing contract with Colton Herta and also has signed Alex Palou (who is in a contract dispute with Chip Ganassi Racing that is similar to Piastri’s situation).

The domino effect started at the Hungarian Grand Prix in late July.

First, four-time F1 champion Sebastian Vettel announced he was retiring at the end of 2022, leaving his Aston Martin seat open. Then, the day after that race, Alonso stunned Alpine by announcing he was joining Aston Martin next year.

Alpine had offered Alonso, 41, a one-year deal with an option for another year, but he accepted Aston Martin’s longer offer.

Then, Alpine said late the next day it was promoting Piastri into Alonso’s seat only for the 21-year-old Piastri to flatly refuse it on Twitter.

“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,” Piastri tweeted at the time. “This is wrong and I have not signed a contract with Alpine for 2023. I will not be driving for Alpine next year.”

That’s not how Szafnauer sees it.

“His promise to us was to race with us if we put him in our car, so that’s what we’re pursuing,” Szafnauer said. “Going to the CRB is the logical next step when you believe you have a valid contract with the driver and he signed something else.”

If Piastri wins, though, Alpine will need to replace him: possibly with Daniel Ricciardo, who is splitting with McLaren at the end of this year.

But Szafnauer believes history could be on his side.

“This has happened in the past. I just happened to be there when it happened to Jenson Button, when he signed for Williams but BAR Honda rightfully took up their option on Jenson,” he said. “Jenson really wanted to go to Williams, BAR Honda won at the CRB and then had a great relationship with Jenson culminating in a world championship (in 2009).”

Szafnauer said Piastri – whose contract is through 2024 with an option at the end of ’23 – seemed happy when he was told he’d replace Alsonso.

“He happened to be in the simulator and I went and found him and he smiled and was thankful,” Szafnauer said. “So we made the (press) release really quickly.”

Alonso was a free agent when the move happened, meaning the two-time F1 champion was free to talk with Aston Martin and other teams.

“There was paddock rumor on Sunday that it could happen, so not that big of a surprise. The surprising bit was that we went a long way with Fernando in our negotiations with him,” Szafnauer said. “We got to the final hurdle and Fernando indicated that he was ready to sign. The only surprising bit was that it was announced Monday morning, when Sunday night he indicated there was no need to rush.”

Although Szafnauer insists he does not not feel let down by Alonso, he had thought he would stay.

“When I left Fernando on Sunday, he told me `Look, don’t worry we’ve got time. I’m going to be on my boat in Greece over the holiday.’ He invited me for a coffee. He said, `If you’re in Greece come to my boat,’ ” Szafnauer said. “We put in front of him a contract we’d be happy with … Although he wanted a longer deal, he intimated to me that 1+1 was fine.”

McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl, who sat alongside Szafnauer at a news conference on Saturday, remains tight-lipped about who will replace Ricciardo.

“I don’t want to comment on any driver names or scenarios,” he said. “It’s something we will address from next week onwards.”

Seidl’s relationship with Ricciardo remains strong enough for them to share beer and a dinner, he said, adding that he felt sad for the Australian driver. Ricciardo won the Italian GP last September for his eighth F1 win but has largely been outperformed by Lando Norris this season and last.

“It wasn’t a secret that despite all the effort on Daniel’s side and our side, despite the huge commitment levels on both sides, we simply didn’t manage to achieve the results we all had in mind,” Seidl said. “It didn’t change anything in terms of the respect for Daniel, in terms of (the) driver he is. But at the same time it was important to have clarity now making our plans for next year.”

IndyCar Detroit Grand Prix: How to watch, start times, TV, schedules, streaming


The NTT IndyCar Series will return to the Motor City for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix but with start times in a new location for 2023.

After a 30-year run on Belle Isle, the Detroit GP has moved a few miles south to the streets of downtown on a new nine-turn, 1.645-mile circuit that runs along the Detroit River.

It’s the first time single-seater open-cockpit cars have raced on the streets of Detroit since a CART event on a 2.5-mile downtown layout from 1989-91. Formula One also raced in Detroit from 1982-88.

The reimagined Detroit Grand Prix also will play host to nightly concerts and bring in venders from across the region. Roger Penske predicts the new downtown locale will be bigger for Detroit than when the city played host to the 2006 Super Bowl.

Here are the details and IndyCar start times for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach race weekend (all times are ET):


TV: Sunday, 3 p.m. ET on NBC and streaming on Peacock, the NBC Sports App and Leigh Diffey is the announcer with analysts Townsend Bell and James Hinchcliffe. Dave Burns, Marty Snider and Kevin Lee are the pit reporters. Click here for the full NBC Sports schedule for IndyCar in 2023.

Peacock also will be the streaming broadcast for both practices and qualifying.

POSTRACE SHOW ON PEACOCK: After the race’s conclusion, an exclusive postrace show will air on Peacock with driver interviews, postrace analysis and the podium presentation. To watch the extended postrace show, click over to the special stream on Peacock after Sunday’s race ends.


GREEN FLAG: 3:30 p.m. ET

PRACTICE: Friday, 3 p.m. (Peacock Premium); Saturday, 9:05 a.m. (Peacock Premium); Sunday, 10 a.m. (Peacock Premium)

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Combined

QUALIFYING: Saturday, 1:20 p.m. (Peacock Premium)

STARTING LINEUP: Alex Palou captured the first street course pole of his IndyCar career; click here for where everyone will begin Sunday’s race

RACE DISTANCE: The race is 100 laps (170 miles) on a nine-turn, 1.645-mile temporary street course in downtown Detroit.

TIRE ALLOTMENT: Seven sets primary, four sets alternate. Rookie drivers are allowed one extra primary set for the first practice.

PUSH TO PASS: 150 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 15 seconds per activation (Indy NXT: 150 seconds total, 15 seconds per). The push-to-pass is not available on the initial start or any restart unless it occurs in the final two laps or three minutes of a timed race. The feature increases the power of the engine by approximately 60 horsepower.

FORECAST: According to, it’s expected to be 80 degrees with a 0% chance of rain.

ENTRY LIST: Click here to view the 27 drivers racing Sunday at Detroit

INDY NXT RACES: Saturday, 12:05 p.m. 45 laps/55 minutes (Peacock Premium); Sunday, 12:50 p.m. 45 laps/55 minutes (Peacock Premium)

INDY NXT ENTRY LISTClick here to view the 19 drivers racing at Detroit


(All times are Eastern)

Friday, June 2

8:30-9:30 a.m.: IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge practice

9 a.m.: IndyCar garage opens

9:50-10:20 a.m.: Trans Am Series practice

11:40 a.m.-12:40 p.m.: IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge practice

1-1:30 p.m.: Trans Am Series practice

1:50-2:40 p.m.: Indy NXT practice

3-4:30 p.m.: IndyCar practice, Peacock

4:50-5:05 p.m.: IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge qualifying

5:30-6 p.m.: IndyNXT qualifying (Race 1 and 2)

6-7:15 p.m.: A-Track concert (Hart Plaza Stage)

7:30-8:30 p.m.: Big Boi concert (Hart Plaza Stage)

Saturday, June 3

6 a.m.: IndyCar garage opens

8:15-8:45 a.m.: Trans Am Series qualifying

9:05-10:05 a.m.: IndyCar practice, Peacock

10:35-11:35 a.m.: Trans Am Series, 3-Dimensional Services Group Muscle Car Challenge

12:05-1:00 p.m.: Indy NXT, Race 1 (45 laps or 55 minutes), Peacock

1:15-2:45 p.m.: IndyCar qualifying, Peacock

4:10-5:50 p.m.: IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, Chevrolet Detroit Sports Car Classic (100 minutes), Peacock

5:30-7 p.m.: Z-Trip concert (Hart Plaza Stage)

7-8:30 p.m.: Steve Aoki concert (Hart Plaza Stage)

Sunday, June 4

7 a.m.: IndyCar garage opens

10:00-10:30 a.m.: IndyCar warmup, Peacock

11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m.: Trans Am Series, 3-Dimensional Services Group Motor City Showdown

12:50-1:45 p.m.: Indy NXT, Race 2 (45 laps or 55 minutes), Peacock

2:47 p.m.: IndyCar driver introductions

3:23 p.m.: Command to start engines

3:30 p.m.: Green flag for the Chevrolet Detroit Prix, presented by Lear (100 laps/170 miles), NBC


ROUND 1Marcus Ericsson wins wild opener in St. Petersburg

ROUND 2Josef Newgarden wins Texas thriller over Pato O’Ward

ROUND 3: Kyle Kirkwood breaks through for first career IndyCar victory

ROUND 4: Scott McLaughlin outduels Romain Grosjean at Barber

ROUND 5: Alex Palou dominant in GMR Grand Prix

ROUND 6: Josef Newgarden wins first Indy 500 in 12th attempt 


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Alexander Rossi fitting in well at McLaren

Phoenix takes flight: Romain Grosjean enjoying the pilot’s life

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Simon Pagenaud on why he likes teasing former teammate Josef Newgarden

HOW TO WATCH INDYCAR IN 2023Full NBC Sports schedule