‘No hurry’ to rule out 2022 Latifi-Piastri swap

Sun, 19 June 2022, 06:00

Jun.19 (GMM) Formula 1’s traditional ‘silly season’ is now in full swing, as the occupants of the race seats for 2023 begin to emerge.

Pierre Gasly, for instance, has been told in no uncertain terms by Red Bull that he must honour his contract all the way to the end of next year.

“He will be a driver for us,” Alpha Tauri boss Franz Tost said in Montreal, despite earlier speculation the Frenchman was looking behind the energy drink company’s F1 stable.

“This is 100 percent confirmed,” Tost added. “He has a valid contract.

“There’s nothing more to say.”

Slightly less certain is the situation at Alpine, although Fernando Alonso’s shock P2 behind Max Verstappen on a slippery Montreal circuit will do his forthcoming negotiations no harm.

If the Renault-owned team sticks with the Spaniard, reigning Formula 2 champion Oscar Piastri looks set to sign up with Williams.

“There’s no real need to hurry that,” Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer said. “We’ll take our time and at the right moment, within the silly season, we’ll have a look around and make those types of decisions.”

When asked if the 21-year-old Australian will be in F1 next year, he admitted: “Yes.”

In fact, Szafnauer is not even ruling out an earlier deal with Williams, even though the British team says it has no plans to oust Nicholas Latifi within 2022.

“I’ve read the same (rumours) but it’s hard for me to predict the future on that,” he insisted, despite admitting he had a “chat” with Williams in Montreal.

“I don’t have any more knowledge than you do,” Szafnauer added.

Even Williams boss Jost Capito no longer rules out a Latifi ousting prior to the end of 2022.

“Both (drivers) have a contract for the season and it’s our plan to fulfil that. We don’t have any other plans,” said Capito.

However, he said Piastri is “ready to go into Formula 1” and “on the list” of drivers Williams is looking at.

As for 40-year-old Alonso, Alpine’s Szafnauer said there will be more news “closer to the (summer) break”.

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