F1 LIVE: Alex Albon pens multi-year extension at Williams amid Oscar Piastri saga

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F1: Fernando Alonso to join Aston Martin in 2023

Oscar Piastri says he will not be driving for Alpine next season, just hours after the Formula One team announced he would be replacing Fernando Alonso.

Piastri, the Formula 2 champion, said Alpine’s announcement earlier in the day that he would take their vacant 2023 seat had been made without his agreement. Alpine’s press release did not contain quotes from the 21-year-old, sparking uncertainty at whether Piastri was even aware of the team’s decision. And in an embarrassing turn of events for Alpine, just hours after their statement Piastri reacted to the news by denying that he had signed a contract for next season.

The Australian wrote on Twitter: “I understand that, without my agreement, Alpine F1 have put out a press release late this afternoon that I am driving for them next year. This is wrong and I have not signed a contract with Alpine for 2023. I will not be driving for Alpine next year.”

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Piastri is a test driver at Alpine and, with two-time world champion Alonso leaving to replace Sebastian Vettel at Aston Martin, seemed a good fit for the team. But there have also been rumours that Piastri has held talks with McLaren, with Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer suggesting there was a “pre-agreement” elsewhere.

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F1 news: BREAKING – Alex Albon signs multi-year agreement at Williams as Oscar Piastri’s F1 seat saga rumbles on

Alex Albon has signed on for a second season and more at Williams in as the saga of where Oscar Piastri ends up in Formula 1 next year rumbles on.

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Albon joined the Oxford-based team at the start of 2022 having been dropped by Red Bull at the end of 2020 and spending last year as a test driver.

The British-Thai driver has scored all three of Williams’ Championship points this season – including a memorable drive in Melbourne in April – and has now put speculation about his future to bed by signing a “multi-year agreement”.

“Well, I’m here for 2023 and beyond. It’s been a good year this year, we wanted more, but this is the goal [points at trophies] and that’s what we’re going for,” Albon said in a video on Williams’ F1 website.

“It’s nice to have some peace of mind, obviously, going forward about my career and then to be with Williams. Obviously we’ve had a really good start to the season, really enjoyed my time here. For the future and for the rest of the season we’ll keep our heads down.

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“We’re going to focus on maximising the car and doing the best job we can. But to know it goes beyond that is very exciting.”

There was not, however, any news regarding the future of Albon’s current teammate Nicholas Latifi, with rumours that Piastri could take up the second seat at Williams next year. The announcement comes amid the situation regarding Piastri and his rejection of a seat at Alpine, after the team announced him as Fernando Alonso’s replacement for 2023.

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F1 news: Oscar Piastri turning down an F1 seat at Alpine for 2023 is ‘very surprising’, says Paul di Resta

Oscar Piastri’s firm denial of Alpine announcing him as their driver for the 2023 F1 season is “very surprising” given the team’s “great upwards trajectory”, says former F1 driver Paul di Resta.

A dramatic couple of days has seen Fernando Alonso stun the paddock by signing a “multi-year contract” with Aston Martin from next year, leaving Alpine with a seat to fill to partner Esteban Ocon.

Alpine reserve driver and 2021 F2 champion Oscar Piastri was on Tuesday evening announced as the team’s F1 driver next year in a press release which raised suspicions after it didn’t include any quotes from the 21-year-old himself.

Hours later, Piastri insisted this press release had been published “without his permission” and he has “not signed a contract with Alpine for 2023”, adding he will “not be driving for Alpine next year.” Williams have on Wednesday morning published a cryptic tweet teasing an announcement this afternoon at 3:00pm BST.

Despite rumours the Australian – who is managed by nine time Grand Prix winner Mark Webber – has been in talks with both McLaren and Williams, Di Resta admits he is “very surprised” that Piastri hasn’t accepted the offer of a seat at Alpine, who are currently fourth in the 2022 Constructors Standings.

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F1 summer break verdict: Red Bull cruising and Mercedes progressing as Ferrari flounder

As Formula 1 shuts down for the customary summer break after a 13-race stretch from mid-March to the end of July, Max Verstappen must be wondering what all the fuss is about. New regulations designed to tighten the pack? Nine out of 10 podiums in a row suggests otherwise.

Last year’s controversial world champion is sailing to a title this year in a race very much lacking a cause célèbre. With the aura of a man in cruise control in the cockpit and in the off-track circus, the two-time world champion tag is not far from anointment.

While the actions of challengers around him only helped to facilitate rather than hinder his tenth-to-first triumph, Sunday in Budapest was his drive of the year so far, storming to victory by a margin of eight seconds, which, without a sprinkling of late rain, would have been larger. A fearsome combination of faultless strategy calls and composed overtaking manoeuvres – alongside eye-catching control of his Red Bull during a heart-thumping 360 – saw the 24-year-old extend his lead in the Championship to 80 points with nine races left.

Insurmountable? Almost certainly. The Hungaroring wasn’t meant to suit Red Bull, so the build-up said. And indeed, an action-packed qualifying session saw the constructors’ leaders slump to a lowly P10 and P11, handing rare moments in the sunshine to Mercedes and Ferrari up top. But amid a 70-lap tussle where tactics took precedent over skill behind the wheel, the decisions of chief strategist Hannah Schmitz were spot-on to a tee as Red Bull thrived whilst the front of the pack failed.

Perhaps this is harsh on Mercedes, who reacted slowly to Verstappen’s initial undercut on Hamilton but then recovered to see their all-Brit duo home for a second consecutive double podium. As for Ferrari? Déjà vu.

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F1 news: George Russell accuses Red Bull and Ferrari of ‘pushing the regulations’

George Russell took aim at Red Bull and Ferrari for “pushing the regulations” after the Brit finished on the podium at the Hungarian Grand Prix. The 24-year-old had earned the first pole position of his career in Budapest on Saturday before Max Verstappen stormed through the field to win his eighth race of the season, with Russell having to settle for third place behind teammate Lewis Hamilton.

Mercedes were hampered by porpoisng and bouncing throughout the first half of the 2022 season, with constant problems with their floor damaging their Championship prospects.

Ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix in June, the FIA issued a new technical directive with the intention of limiting the porposing by cracking down on so-called “flexi-floors”, with the UKTN coming for the first race after the summer break in Belgium.

Russell believes that while Mercedes have “respected” the regulations, Ferrari and Red Bull have “pushed” them and hope that the new rules have an adverse impact on Red Bull and Ferrari.

“Spa is going to be interesting,” Russell said. “There is some changes to some of the regulations which may bring other teams towards us. I think we as a team have a lot of confidence in ourselves and faith that we are doing a great job and there’s no reason we can’t be in the mix.”

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F1 news: Oscar Piastri ‘will not be driving for Alpine next year’ despite team announcement

F1 news: Oscar Piastri ‘will not be driving for Alpine next year’ despite team announcement

Oscar Piastri says he will not be driving for Alpine next season, just hours after the Formula One team announced he would be replacing Fernando Alonso. Piastri, the Formula 2 champion, said Alpine’s announcement earlier in the day that he would take their vacant 2023 seat had been made without his agreement.

Alpine’s press release did not contain quotes from the 21-year-old, sparking uncertainty at whether Piastri was even aware of the team’s decision. And in an embarrassing turn of events for Alpine, just hours after their statement Piastri reacted to the news by denying that he had signed a contract for next season.

The Australian wrote on Twitter: “I understand that, without my agreement, Alpine F1 have put out a press release late this afternoon that I am driving for them next year. This is wrong and I have not signed a contract with Alpine for 2023. I will not be driving for Alpine next year.”

Piastri is a test driver at Alpine and, with two-time world champion Alonso leaving to replace Sebastian Vettel at Aston Martin, seemed a good fit for the team. But there have also been rumours that Piastri has held talks with McLaren, with Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer suggesting there was a “pre-agreement” elsewhere.

“There are some considerations going from a reserve driver contract with options to becoming a racing driver contract,” Szafnauer said earlier on Tuesday. “I’m not privy to whatever pre-arrangement he has with McLaren if any at all but I hear the same rumours you do. But I do know he does have contractual obligations to us and we do to him.”

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‘Very difficult’: Charles Leclerc all but concedes F1 title to Max Verstappen after Ferrari blunder

Charles Leclerc all but conceded the world championship to Max Verstappen after he admitted it is going to be “very difficult” to stop his rival following another Ferrari blunder at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Verstappen takes an 80-point advantage into the sport’s one-month shutdown – the equivalent of more than three victories with just nine to play – after he claimed the eighth win of his title defence at the Hungaroring following a superb drive from 10th on the grid.

Lewis Hamilton started seventh and finished second – following his late charge through the field – with pole-sitter George Russell third. After Leclerc overcame Russell’s 30-lap resistance to assume the lead at Turn 1, he looked destined to win.

But the Monegasque’s afternoon was wrecked – and his championship hopes dealt an almost irreversible blow – when Ferrari elected to put their star driver on the hardest rubber. It was a strategy dismissed by tyre supplier Pirelli, and one Verstappen said his Red Bull team did not even consider.

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F1 news: Fernando Alonso hoping to rediscover winning touch after joining Aston Martin

Fernando Alonso said his intention is to win again in Formula One after completing a shock move to Aston Martin.

The double world champion was revealed as Sebastian Vettel’s replacement just four days after the 35-year-old German announced he will retire at the end of the year. Alonso’s multi-season deal will see him remain on the grid beyond his 43rd birthday.

His capture is a major coup for Aston Martin, who moved at speed to land a grandee name after Vettel informed them last Wednesday he would not continue beyond this season.

It is understood Alonso initially staged informal talks with the British team earlier this year, before agreeing terms on a contract which could run to as many as three seasons. Alonso’s contract with Alpine was due to expire at the end of the season and talks over a renewal had stalled.

“I still have the hunger and ambition to fight to be at the front, and I want to be part of an organisation that is committed to learn, develop and succeed,” said Alonso, who won two consecutive championships for Renault in 2005 and 2006.

“This Aston Martin team is clearly applying the energy and commitment to win, and it is therefore one of the most exciting teams in Formula One today. We all appreciate that there is much to be done to get to the front, and that we must apply all our energies in working together to find performance.

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F1 news: Oscar Piastri turning down an F1 seat at Alpine for 2023 is ‘very surprising’, says Paul di Resta

Oscar Piastri’s firm denial of Alpine announcing him as their driver for the 2023 F1 season is “very surprising” given the team’s “great upwards trajectory”, says former F1 driver Paul di Resta.

A dramatic couple of days has seen Fernando Alonso stun the paddock by signing a “multi-year contract” with Aston Martin from next year, leaving Alpine with a seat to fill to partner Esteban Ocon.

Alpine reserve driver and 2021 F2 champion Oscar Piastri was on Tuesday evening announced as the team’s F1 driver next year in a press release which raised suspicions after it didn’t include any quotes from the 21-year-old himself.

Hours later, Piastri insisted this press release had been published “without his permission” and he has “not signed a contract with Alpine for 2023”, adding he will “not be driving for Alpine next year.” Williams have on Wednesday morning published a cryptic tweet teasing an announcement this afternoon at 3:00pm BST.

Despite rumours the Australian – who is managed by nine time Grand Prix winner Mark Webber – has been in talks with both McLaren and Williams, Di Resta admits he is “very surprised” that Piastri hasn’t accepted the offer of a seat at Alpine, who are currently fourth in the 2022 Constructors Standings.

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F1 news: When and where is the next F1 race?

The Formula One season returns after the summer break with the Belgian Grand Prix at the famous Spa-Francorchamps circuit with Max Verstappen 80 points clear of Charles Leclerc in the standings.

Next, the weekend of 26-28 August sees F1 return after a four-week absence to a fan favourite at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium; a track whose future in F1 is shrouded in doubt despite its traditional spot in the calendar.

When and where is the next race?

After four weeks off in August , Formula 1 rolls into Spa for the Belgium Grand Prix from 26-28 August.

First and second practice takes place at 1pm and 4pm (BST) respecively on Friday August 26th, before third practice at midday on Saturday August 27th and qualifying at 3pm (BST).

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F1 news: Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto says there is ‘nothing to change’ at Scuderia this summer despite strategy calls

Mattia Binotto insists there is no need to change anything at Ferrari this summer despite Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix again being overshadowed by some questionable strategy calls on the Scuderia pit wall.

Ferrari’s Championship hopeful Charles Leclerc qualified in third place and led halfway through the race, but finished down in sixth after switching bizarrely to the hard compound tyre.

Leclerc struggled to extract performance from the tyre – which had shown signs of discomfort for the Alpines – and having been twice overtaken by Max Verstappen, the Monegasque was forced to pit again and had to settle for sixth spot.

Carlos Sainz, who qualified on the front row in second, also finished off the podium in fourth as he couldn’t compete with the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell in the latter stages of the race.

Hungary follows unclear strategy calls in Monaco and Silverstone so far this season for Ferrari too, alongside reliability problems, but Binotto believes his team did not have the pace to win at the Hungaroring regardless of any strategy calls.

“It’s not a matter of bad luck, and there is nothing to change as well,” Binotto said after the race in Budapest. “It’s always a matter of continuous learning and building, building experience, building skills.”

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