If Oscar Piastri is confirmed at Williams as expected for the 2023 Formula 1 season, there is one driver who ends up as the biggest loser — other than Nicholas Latifi.
Oscar Piastri inexplicably missed out on a Formula 1 seat in 2022, despite winning consecutive championships in Formula Renault Eurocup, Formula 3, and Formula 2 in 2019, 2020, and 2021, respectively.
The 21-year-old Australian currently serves as the reserve driver for Alpine, and the French outfit made clear earlier this season that they would be willing to loan him to another team for the 2023 season so that he can gain Formula 1 experience, provided that a return is a part of the deal.
Now it looks as though that deal has come together, with Piastri tipped to replace Nicholas Latifi at Williams alongside Alexander Albon for next year.
Given the performance of Latifi, it was widely anticipated that a replacement for him at the Grove-based team would be found for him for 2023, even coming into the 2022 season.
So all in all, the driver who ends up missing out here, provided that the deal doesn’t fall through, is not Latifi but Nyck de Vries.
De Vries has long been in the frame for a Formula 1 seat but has still never managed to land one. He tested for Williams ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and was able to outpace Latifi.
Of course, there are still those who believe Lewis Hamilton could retire a year before his current Mercedes contract ends, and with the ties de Vries has to the Silver Arrows, he is seen as somewhat of an “insurance policy” for team principal Toto Wolff.
Wolff has already dealt with making an unexpected replacement, doing so for the 2017 season when 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg made the shocking decision to retire.
De Vries, who currently serves as a test and reserve driver for the Mercedes Formula 1 team, won the 2020-2021 Formula E world championship in his second season for Mercedes after winning the 2019 Formula 2 championship for ART Grand Prix. He is currently in his third season with the Formula E team, but McLaren have acquired the team to join the sport next year.
The 27-year-old Dutchman has won everything he is, for lack of a better word, supposed to win at this point in his career to be considered for a Formula 1 seat.
But it doesn’t appear as though it will be the seat many had linked him to for 2023, with the Piastri confirmation potentially being made by Williams as early as later this month.