The BWT Alpine F1 Team would allow the McLaren F1 Team use Oscar Piastri should Daniel Ricciardo remain unavailable for next weekend’s season opener in Bahrain.
Ricciardo has been unable to run in this week’s test at the Bahrain International Circuit after testing positive for COVID-19, and although his isolation is set to end before the race weekend begins, his position on the grid remains uncertain until he tests negative and has zero symptoms.
McLaren do not have its own nominated reserve driver and have been informed in the past that Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team test drivers Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries can compete should a race driver become unavailable.
But Alpine have now reached an agreement with their rivals to allow their reserve driver, 2021 FIA Formula 2 champion Piastri, to race for them should he be needed, although he will remain fully contracted to the Enstone team.
“In the spirit of offering maximum racing opportunities to our stable of young talent, we have agreed that McLaren may call upon BWT Alpine F1 Team reserve driver Oscar Piastri in the event one of their drivers is unable to race,” read a statement from Alpine on Saturday.
“Oscar will remain fully contracted to Alpine, and we will retain first option on his services.”
Andreas Seidl, the Team Principal of McLaren, fully expects Ricciardo to race next weekend in Bahrain, although he admits it is good for the team to have options to who would race should either the Australian or team-mate Lando Norris be unavailable for any reason.
“I’m confident he will be fit again next weekend,” Seidl is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com. “He is feeling better already. But as we know, it simply takes a few days until you are fully back in good shape.
“Obviously in terms of reserve drivers, it is similar to previous years. We have an agreement with Mercedes to share reserve drivers. We have also Paul di Resta, similar to last year, on standby in case it is needed.
“But again, expect Daniel to be back in good shape next week.”