'Great guy' Piastri backed for 2023 F1 seat as Alpine seek options

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Oscar Piastri has been backed to get a seat in Formula 1 next season by both Alpine drivers.

Despite winning the F3 & F2 championships back-to-back, a feat only achieved by Charles Leclerc & George Russell, the Australian failed to earn an F1 promotion for 2022.

As a result, Piastri is spending this year as the reserve and development driver at the Enstone-based team as well as conducting a testing program in preparation for a future opportunity.

Currently, however, where that chance will come is unclear as both Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso are expected to remain at Alpine for next year.

That means team boss Otmar Szafnauer is having to look elsewhere for 2023.

"Oscar is a wonderful young man. He is well prepared and very ambitious,” he was quoted by Motorsport-Magazin.

“We are working hard with Oscar, if the opportunity arises, to put him in a Formula 1 car. We will already give him that opportunity later this year as he will do some free practice for us. In addition, he also does a lot of work for us on the simulator. He’s an up-and-coming talent to watch.

“There is no pressure to find him a seat as it’s only April. But in July, the pressure will certainly be there.”

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At Imola, Sky Sports reporter Ted Kravitz revealed Williams has been identified as a possible option for Piastri next season, potentially following Nicholas Latifi's tricky start to this year.

And Esteban Ocon fully expects to be racing against the kid from Melbourne in the near future.

“Oscar is a great guy. I mean, he’s very involved in the team, he’s going to have a great testing programme,” the Frenchman said via Motorsport Week.

“He’s going to be probably the best-prepared driver ever, with the test programme that he’s got at Alpine.

“I’m very sure he’s going to have a seat in Formula 1 shortly. I don’t know where in the paddock, but opportunity comes for the ones who deserve it.

“And Oscar is one of them. He’s won all the major titles and he’s very professional and dedicated. So yeah, I’m sure you will see him around pretty soon.”

Alonso agreed, adding: “He’s a good guy, obviously very talented, won all the junior categories until now, which obviously shows that he has the talent.

“[He’s] very professional and hardworking on the simulator and on the factory, in all our meetings. He’s still very young. Hopefully, he finds a seat soon.”