Formula 1: Top prospect finally set to land a ride

Nicholas Latifi, Williams, Formula 1 (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
Nicholas Latifi, Williams, Formula 1 (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images) /

Oscar Piastri is finally set to land an opportunity to compete in Formula 1, according to multiple sources, even though it won’t happen in 2022.

Alpine reserve driver Oscar Piastri missed out on a Formula 1 seat in 2022, despite being the clear top young driver in the ladder system after reeling off three consecutive championships in Formula Renault Eurocup, Formula 3, and Formula 2 in 2019, 2020, and 2021, respectively.

Piastri would naturally make sense for Alpine to sign alongside Esteban Ocon, who is signed by the French outfit through 2024, next year if they do not re-sign two-time world champion Fernando Alonso. However, an extension for Alonso looks increasingly likely.

But that doesn’t mean Piastri will miss out on a ride again in 2023. While, on paper, he definitely deserved a Formula 1 seat this year, the fact that he didn’t get one by no means ended his chances at getting one in the future. He was certainly never “out of sight, out of mind”.

Before the 2022 season, the 21-year-old Australian joined McLaren’s pool of reserve drivers, allowing the team to call upon him if they need a replacement driver at any point this year.

In fact, Alpine later made clear that they were open to loaning Piastri to another team, not necessarily McLaren, for the 2023 season, provided a return was part of the deal.

Now he appears to be in line for a well-deserved opportunity.

Multiple sources have reported that Piastri will be confirmed by Williams as the replacement for Nicholas Latifi next year, with an official announcement set be made as early as later this month.

While some had initially believed that this deal could result in a midseason driver swap for the Grove-based team, that is not reportedly a part of the plan.

Latifi, who is one of two drivers without any points so far in 2022, is set to finish out the 2022 season before Piastri replaces him alongside Alexander Albon for 2023.

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Piastri’s move to Williams would be the first confirmed change in the driver lineup for the 2023 season. While two drivers have signed contracts for 2023 and beyond since the 2022 season began, both of those drivers, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. and Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, have agreed to extensions and are set to stay at their respective organizations.