Retour sur l’édito : Alpine to solve Alonso-Piastri dilemma next year says CEO

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May 24 – Alpine will « find a solution » to its three-driver dilemma ahead of the 2023 season.

That is the news from Luca de Meo, who is CEO of Renault – the owner of the works Alpine team in Formula 1.

It is now an open secret that two-time world champion Alonso, 40, may not stay with the Enstone team beyond the end of his currently expiring contract.

He has already been linked with Aston Martin, in a move that would open up Alonso’s Alpine race seat to reigning Formula 2 champion and team reserve Oscar Piastri.

Esteban Ocon is already under contract for 2023.

« We love Fernando very much, » de Meo told the Spanish broadcaster DAZN.

« We are going to have to find a solution for everyone, because we also have Esteban and Oscar, who are very good, » he said. « We want to protect our drivers and seek an ideal solution for everyone.

« I think the work that Fernando has done and is doing is incredible. »

According to Alonso’s friend and former colleague Pedro de la Rosa, de Meo’s comments are actually a disappointing sign that Alpine is moving on.

« I was surprised, » he is quoted by Diario Sport newspaper. « The question, for me, is whether Fernando would like to continue, not the other way around.

« The plan plan in Formula 1 is the medium-long term, otherwise there are no results. The way for ‘El Plan’ to work is by having Fernando on the team for several years. »

As far as de Meo is concerned, however, having three top drivers to consider is a luxury for Alpine.

« We combined the experience of Alonso with the youth of Ocon and now Piastri enters, » he said. « It is a challenge to find a position for the three of them.

« The solution will not be 100 percent pleasant for all three of them, but we believe that we have to give each one of them an opportunity. »

According to most insiders, the most likely scenario is that Alonso will leave Alpine, with Australian youngster Piastri joining Ocon at Alpine from 2023.

« We have to protect the three drivers, » de Meo said, « and also the one that they say is a super-talent in Piastri.

« Fernando is 41 years old and Piastri is 21. The moment of change will come, but Fernando is a legend and we so cannot treat him as if he was just another Alpine employee. »

Luca de Meo also denied suggestions Alpine has effectively stalled in Formula 1, despite earlier grand plans for wins and the title within several years.

« Nobody knows when you are going to be champion, » he insisted. « You have to see the progression.

« Three years to set up a competitive team is normal. We saw that with everyone, including Red Bull or Mercedes, that it takes a while. »

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