Australia could have as many as three drivers taking part in the upcoming British Formula 1 Grand Prix weekend, with Oscar Piastri and Jack Doohan both in line for a promotion.
According to the latest word from the Formula 1 paddock, Piastri is expected to replace the struggling Nicholas Latifi at Williams for the second half of the season, while Doohan could take part in the opening practice session for Alpine.
Piastri, the reigning F2 champion, has been 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 facing a choice for 2023 between the 21-year-old Australian and his current driver, the two-time world champion Fernando Alonso.
The Spaniard, who is in the final year of a two-year deal with the team, has made it clear he would like to continue beyond 2022.
But with Esteban Ocon under contract for 2023, there’s only room for one of Alonso or Piastri, meaning Alpine could entertain a deal where Piastri is loaned out to Williams to gain experience.
Piastri is widely regarded as a future star, having won the Formula Renault Eurocup, F3 and F2 titles in consecutive seasons.
If the Melburnian does make his debut at Silverstone, he would have four races to impress before the summer break, which is when Alpine would likely make a call for 2023.
In Piastri’s favor is the fact he’s already tested a Formula 1 car at three of those four circuits – Silverstone, Red Bull Ring (Austria) and Paul Ricard (France). He is also expected to test again at Silverstone before the British Grand Prix.
Piastri’s management declined to comment when approached by Wide World of Sports.
Alpine would have little to lose by delaying a decision on its driver line-up. Alonso doesn’t appear to have any better options for next season, while Alpine controls Piastri’s destiny.
Only a late change of heart at Williams can save Latifi, who sits last in the driver’s championship. Next weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix, his home race, is likely to be his last for the team.
Doohan, meanwhile, is shaping as the big winner of the mid-season reshuffle, and could join Piastri and McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo in action for the first practice session at Silverstone, with Alpine believed to be weighing up the possibility of giving the 19-year -old the opportunity to show 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, sharing a test session in Qatar with Piastri.
Piastri would have been expected to take the wheel for both of Alpine’s rookie driver sessions, but his likely move to Williams appears to have opened the door for his fellow Australian, who joined the Alpine Academy this year.
Doohan finished second in last year’s F3 championship, and has made a solid start to the F2 season, currently sitting 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 outing at Silverstone, that’s not unprecedented, with Juri Vips having done exactly that at the Spanish Grand Prix earlier this year.
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