Marcin Budkowski says he is expecting one of two different conversations during the 2022 Formula 1 season regarding the future of Fernando Alonso, with the outcome likely to affect the chances of Oscar Piastri joining the Alpine F1 Team in 2023.
Budkowski, the Executive Director of the Enstone-based team, believes Alonso will decide next year whether he wants to extend his stay with the team beyond the season, and the decision will revolve around how competitive Alpine are in 2022.
Should Alonso opt to stay – Esteban Ocon is signed until the end of 2023 – this would leave current FIA Formula 2 championship leader and Alpine’s 2022 reserve driver Piastri without a seat once more, with the Australian already having missed out on a promotion to Formula 1 for next year.
“How are we going to make that decision? Well, let’s see next year first,” Budkowski is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com. “If the car is quick and Fernando is happy, then we’ll have one type of discussion. If that’s not the case, then we’ll have a different type of discussion.
“But certainly we have a great talent with Oscar in the wings, and if there’s no seat available at Alpine, I’m sure we’ll find a solution for him to drive a Formula 1 car and stay in the Alpine family.”
Budkowski says Piastri will be heavily integrated within the Alpine team in 2022 as they look to provide him with all the tools necessary to join the Formula 1 grid in 2023.
However, he says the Australian still has it all to do to clinch the Formula 2 title this year before he can turn his attention to his reserve driver duties.
“Oscar’s announcement, beyond being an announcement as such that he will be a reserve driver, comes with an awful lot of other things,” Budkowski added. “Oscar is going to be very involved in a development, in the simulator.
“He’s already doing some of this, but not as much as we’d like because obviously he’s racing in Formula 2, and he still needs to win the championship this year.
“But he’s going to be doing a lot of development work, a lot of simulator work, spending time in the factory [working] very close with the engineers. He’s going to do quite a lot of on-track running as well.”