Australia could have as many as three drivers competing in the upcoming British Formula 1 Grand Prix weekend, with Oscar Piastric and Jack Doohan both in line for a promotion.
According to the final word from the Formula 1 paddock, Piastri is expected to replace struggling Nicholas Latifi at Williams for the second half of the season, while Doohan could take part in opening practice for Alpine.
Piastri, the reigning F2 champion, is strongly linked to the Williams team, with reports in recent days that he signed a deal at the Monaco Grand Prix last month.
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He is currently Alpine’s reserve driver, with the team having to choose between the 21-year-old Australian and his current driver, the two-time world champion for 2023. Fernando Alonso†
The Spaniard, who is in the final year of a two-year contract with the team, has made it clear that he would like to continue beyond 2022.
But with Esteban Ocon under contract for 2023, there is only room for one from Alonso or Piastri, meaning Alpine could strike a deal where Piastri is loaned to Williams to gain experience.
Piastri is widely regarded as a future star, having won Formula Renault Eurocup, F3 and F2 titles in successive seasons.
If the Melburnian makes his debut at Silverstone, he would have four races to impress before the summer break, and then Alpine would likely call for 2023.
In Piastri’s favor is the fact that he has already tested a Formula 1 car on three of those four tracks – Silverstone, Red Bull Ring (Austria) and Paul Ricard (France). He is also expected to test again at Silverstone for the British Grand Prix.
Piastri’s management declined to comment when approached by Wide World of Sports.
Alpine would have little to lose by postponing a decision on the driver lineup. Alonso seems to have no better options for next season, while Alpine has the fate of Piastri in their hands.
Only a belated change of mind at Williams can save Latifi, who is the latter in the drivers’ championship. Next weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix, his home race, will likely be his last for the team.
Doohan, meanwhile, becomes the big winner of the mid-season reshuffle and could join Piastri and McLaren. Daniel Ricciardo in action for the first practice session at Silverstone, with Alpine considering considering the possibility of giving the 19-year-old a chance to showcase his talent.
Each team must run a rookie driver in two FP1 sessions over the course of the season. Doohan recently tested a 2021 Alpine Formula 1 car and shared a test session in Qatar with Piastri.
Piastri was expected to take the wheel for both of Alpine’s novice sessions, but his likely move to Williams appears to have opened the door for his compatriot, who joined the Alpine Academy this year.
Doohan finished second in the F3 Championship last year and has made a solid start to the F2 season, currently sixth in the title race. He claimed pole position in both the Bahrain and Spanish rounds.
While Doohan would have to juggle F2 and a Formula 1 practice at Silverstone, that’s not unprecedented, with Juri Vips doing just that at the Spanish Grand Prix earlier this year.
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