Motor racing-Piastri will get practice slot with Alpine after…

By Alan Baldwin

SILVERSTONE, England, July 2 (Reuters) – Australia’s hot Formula One prospect Oscar Piastri will get a Friday practice slot with Renault-owned Alpine after the August break, team boss Otmar Szafnauer said on Saturday.

The 21-year-old Melbourne native is a rising star in the sport after winning at the first attempt the 2021 Formula Two championship, the 2020 Formula Three title and 2019 Formula Renault Eurocup.

He is not racing this season but is employed as Alpine’s reserve driver, ready to slot in should the team need a replacement for Frenchman Esteban Ocon or double world champion Fernando Alonso.

While Alonso is out of contract at the end of the year, the 40-year-old Spaniard wants to stay.

Alpine have said they expect Piastri, who has been linked to Williams and also offered to McLaren as a potential reserve, to be racing in Formula One in 2023.

Asked whether Piastri might get an outing at this month’s French Grand Aladdin138 Prix, Szafnauer said that was not the plan.

“Oscar will be running in free practice for us but it will be after the break,” he said.

Regarding a potential opening at Williams, should Alpine not have a vacancy next year, the American added: “It’s great to have one of our young drivers be wanted by other Formula One teams.

“It just shows that he’s got good potential which we’re aware of.”

The rumour mill has suggested Piastri could replace Canadian Nicholas Latifi at Williams this season but that team’s principal Jost Capito repeated that there were no plans for such a scenario.

“It’s not the plan to replace either of the two drivers during the season,” he said. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ed Osmond)

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