Oscar Piastri will become just the third Australian Formula One driver since the turn of the century after being handed a seat at Alpine.
Fernando Alonso’s departure to Aston Martin – where he will replace the retiring Sebastian Vettel – opened the door for the Aussie young gun to partner Esteban Ocon next season.
Piastri will join Daniel Ricciardo as active drivers from Down Under. Mark Webber, who won nine grand prixs from 2002 to 2013 and manages Piastri, is the only other Aussie to race in the elite competition since the early 1990s.
It’s an amazing opportunity for Piastri but nothing less than he deserved after his dominance at F3 and then F2 level in recent years.
Piastri has been made to bide his time as Alpine’s reserve driver this year, despite winning three consecutive titles in a stellar junior racing career.
There was speculation he could be loaned to Williams as a replacement for underperforming Canadian Nicholas Latifi but Alonso’s exit has allowed Alpine to retain the Melbourne 21-year-old’s services.
F1 commentator Martin Brundle had predicted last month the Aussie would find a way to the 2023 grid.
“Piastri has got to be in F1 next year whatever it is and whatever comes his way he has got to take it,” Brundle said.
“He has to outperform whatever he gets as Mark Webber did at Minardi and (Ayrton) Senna did at Toleman for example.
“It won’t be easy for Oscar but it’s not out of the question. There’s only 20 F1 drivers in the world and to have 10 per cent of them as Aussies will be challenging but do-able.”