Oscar Piastri will therefore join McLaren F1 next year after being nurtured by Alpine for several years, and the French team may regret not having been able to keep its Australian nugget. But she is obviously not the only one.
Christian Horner, the director of Red Bull, reveals that he would have liked to enlist Piastri in the junior program of the Austrian firm a few years ago, but it never materialized to his dismay.
“Oscar drove for Arden in F4 and Formula Renault and of course had great talent,” Horner said.
“There was an opportunity for Red Bull to sign him at the time, but we didn’t choose that option in the end and I regret that. What he achieved in F3 and then in F2 is phenomenal.”
One thing is certain according to Horner: if he had been in the place of Alpine F1, he would have ensured that Piastri had a reinforced concrete contract with his team.
“If he had driven here we would have locked him out for a while. It’s hard to know what he was promised (at Alpine), but what happened was certainly surprising. Fernando Alonso has kicked things into the water and caused the game of musical chairs. Piastri is a great driver. Only the problem is that the expectations around him will be huge from now on.”
The Australian driver will also have to start with Lando Norris as a teammate, and Horner thus promises him a difficult first season.
“He will arrive and will have to live up to expectations against Lando, which will not be an easy task. In this business, you either swim or sink. But he is a very competent driver and I am sure he is will come out.”
Soon a new member of the Red Bull network in F1?
Eager to take care of its image after losing Alonso and Piastri, Alpine F1 would like to hire Pierre Gasly alongside Esteban Ocon for 2023. But to release its French driver, Red Bull would like to find him a worthy replacement at AlphaTauri.
With the Colton Herta track closed, the name of Nyck de Vries, shining for his F1 debut at Monza, emerged. But Horner points out that the Austrian sector also has many talents within its incubator.
From there to one of them being promoted next year? It seems unlikely, but the British leader still praises the effectiveness of Red bull’s junior program.
“We continue to invest in young people, we have very good drivers in this program, in karting, in F4 and in the categories above. I think it’s something that Red Bull has done well, we give a give these young talents a chance and give them opportunities they wouldn’t have had otherwise.”
“Isack Hadjar had a good first season in F3 this year. And I think in F2 Ayumu Iwasa stood out. And those are just two drivers in our program.”
“Liam Lawson has had a tough year, but he has talent too. Dennis Hauger was a bit of a disappointment in F2 after a year of dominance in F3. But again, it depends on both the driver and the driver. equipment he has.”