Oscar Piastri is one of the many names that have caused a stir during Formula One’s silly season this year after the Alpine vs. McLaren saga.
News broke Aug. 1 that Fernando Alonso would compete for Aston Martin in 2023, filling the vacancy that will be left by Sebastian Vettel who announced he will retire from F1 at the end of this season. A day later, Alpine announced Oscar Piastri would drive for them next season; however, the 21-year-old denied this on social media.
On Aug. 24, news broke that McLaren and Daniel Ricciardo “mutually agreed” to split at the end of the ’22 campaign, and ultimately, the Contract Recognition Board later upheld McLaren’s contract with Piastri.
But, these weren’t the only two teams who had a chance at taking a look at the 2021 Formula Two champion. Red Bull team boss Christian Horner revealed how he regrets passing on the chance at signing the rising star. Piastri competed for Arden, the team Horner and his father, Garry, founded, while in Formula Four and Formula Renault.
“There was an opportunity for Red Bull to look at him at the time and we didn’t take up that option, which is something that I regret,” Horner said on the latest episode of F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast.
The team principal also gave his take on the back-and-forth that unfolded between McLaren and Alpine over Piastri. He said, “Now, if he’d been a driver here, there is no way that he wouldn’t have been under lock and key for a period in time. I wasn’t party [to the situation]it’s difficult to judge what was promised or reneged on and so on, but it certainly was unexpected—probably from several areas.”
Piastri will compete alongside Lando Norris in the papaya orange next season, a driver that Horner rated fairly high.
“The only problem he (Piastri) now has to deal with is (that) the expectation on him will be immense,” said Horner. “He’s going to have to get in and deliver against Lando, which is no mean feat.
“But you either sink or swim in this business. He’s a very, very capable driver, I’m sure he’s going to do very well.”
The 2023 Formula One grid has yet to be fully confirmed as teams still have decisions to make regarding the remaining seats. AlphaTauri locked in one of theirs as they announced Thursday that Yuki Tsunoda would remain with the Italy-based team for another year. But, Alpine, Alfa Romeo, Williams and Haas are among those who have yet to make a public announcement.
Meanwhile, Red Bull is surging in both championships, winning 12 of the 16 races this year. Mathematically, Max Verstappen could win the crown as soon as the Singapore Grand Prix, making it his second championship in as many seasons. Red Bull is 139 points ahead of Ferrari while Verstappen leads Charles Leclerc by 116.
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