Ericsson makes F1 ‘silly season’ forecast as Alonso gives ‘middle finger’

A grenade has been lobbed into the F1 driver market by Fernando Alonso’s impending switch from Alpine to Aston Martin, with IndyCar star Marcus Ericsson predicting future driver moves.

The two-time world champion stunned the F1 paddock by announcing he will be joining the ambitious Aston Martin squad at the end of the 2022 season. The news also took Alpine by surprise as the Renault-backed squad had been confident of tying the 41-year-old to a new deal.

In fact, Alpine were only made aware of Alonso’s move once the news had been made public by Aston Martin’s media team. While disappointed by Alonso’s decision, they seem to have a ready-made replacement in the shape of their highly-rated reserve driver, Oscar Piastri, who has won the F2 and F3 championships in the last two years.

READ MORE: Alpine 'didn't know' Fernando Alonso was signing for Aston Martin

However, in another surprise development, it has emerged that Piastri’s future may not lie with Alpine after all. The Australian has been strongly linked with McLaren as a replacement for the struggling Daniel Ricciardo and is rumoured to have held talks with the Woking squad.

Alpine team boss Otmar Szafnauer insists they have first option on Piastri’s services, but is aware of McLaren’s rumoured interest.

“I'm not privy to whatever pre-arrangements he has with McLaren, if any at all,” said Szafnauer, reported Autosport. “But I hear the same rumours that you do in the pitlane. But what I do know is that he does have contractual obligations to us. And we do to him. And we've been honouring those obligations all year. And those obligations, last through '23, and possibly in '24, if some options are taken up.”

Where do you think Oscar Piastri will end up for 2023? Have your say in the comments section below.

However, Szafnauer did concede he had not yet made contact with Piastri’s manager, ex-Red Bull driver Mark Webber.

“Oscar and his camp are considering their options, whatever that means,” he said. “This just happened on Monday – it's now Tuesday, his manager is in Australia, there's a bit of a time difference.

“But I've been trying to get hold of Mark and wrote some text messages and some emails to him, as well. So give us a bit of time. Oscar is our number one preferred candidate. And that's what we're going to do.”

Developments like this are why this stage of the year is dubbed the ‘silly season’. And IndyCar star and former Sauber F1 driver Marcus Ericsson couldn’t help but get involved by giving his predictions for how the saga will unfold.

This year’s Indy 500 winner is tipping Piastri to replace Ricciardo at McLaren and Pierre Gasly to move to Alpine. He tweeted: “After Alonso’s ‘middle finger to Alpine switch’ this is how the rest of @F1 silly season will play out:

"Alpine Ocon-Gasly

"AlphaT Schumacher-Tsunoda

"Mclaren Norris-Piastri

"AlfaR Bottas-Zhou

"Haas Mag-Ricciardo

"Williams Albon-De Vries

"It’s called Silly season for a reason.”


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