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Ricciardo, Gasly, Pourchaire… Who to replace Alonso at Alpine?

Let’s rewind for those who haven’t followed the History (with a capital H, yes yes) of the week (/month/season): Alpine, solidly clinging to fourth place in the constructors’ world championship, began to think about the vintage 2023. The initial idea: extend the Spanish quadra Fernando Alonso for another year, before directing him towards the car entered in the endurance championship, then seeing the young and promising Australian Oscar Piastri take over in 2024. And in the meantime, wedge Piastri at Williams so that he can gain experience.

It was as beautiful as a Friday outfit by Lewis Hamilton, it ended like a Sunday lap by Nikita Mazepin: in a monumental crash. Alonso declines and goes to Aston Martin, Piastri refuses to drive the Williams and prefers McLaren to Alpine, and here is the French team in the favorite subject of the rooster… But who will be able to support Esteban Ocon next year? We take stock of the slopes (with our forecasts on a wet finger).

Daniel Ricciardo

Why could it be him? The 33-year-old Australian driver knows the house well, having driven a Renault for two years, before preferring to go to McLaren, believing that the English team would be more competitive. Since then he has been completely lost. His teammate Lando Norris makes him his toy at every race, and Ricciardo only has his legendary smile and his colorful outfits left to shine. To the point that he thinks that McLaren would like to exfiltrate him.

Why can it block? Because the Australian still has a year left on his contract, and if McLaren wants to get rid of him, he also needs to find a replacement of his caliber.

Chances of achievement: 70%. “I don’t think it would be a problem if Daniel was back,” anticipated Omar Szafnauer, Alpine’s director.

Pierre Gasly

Why could it be him? The Frenchman is undoubtedly the most under-endowed driver on the board. His Alpha Tauri is not working this season, although he has been working miracles with it for several years (if we put aside the RedBull parenthesis). Gasly dominates his teammate Tsunoda GP after GP, without being able to hope to aim for the podium, or even better than the small points. There is no doubt that the prospect of driving an Alpine will make him salivate. And then a duo of French pilots at Alpine, that will give great stories to tell.

Why can it block? We pass over the legend of the disagreement between Gasly and Ocon (old stories of karting), to get directly to the contractual problem. Gasly is a RedBull driver, and still has a year on his contract. Helmut Marko not being the most charming of bosses, we will not bet on his ability to release the Frenchman for services rendered, when he knows he will not find better on the market.

Chances of achievement: 20%. “Pierre will still be racing for Scuderia AlphaTauri in 2023. He is 100% confirmed with a valid contract, there is nothing else to add”, had asserted Franz Tost, the boss of Alpha Tauri, in June.

Theo Pourchaire

Why could it be him? Pilot in Formula 2 where he is in second place in the standings, the Frenchman Théo Pourchaire (18 years old) is announced as a great talent. In an F1 which no longer hesitates to launch younger and younger drivers, his age is not a problem. And as for Gasly, the prospect of a blue-white-red duo in the blue-white-red team, it matches for the fans (probably less for the team, which wants to give itself a global image).

Why can it block? Pourchaire is under contract with Sauber-Alfa Romeo, and the Italian-Swiss are counting on him. From next season?

Chances of achievement: 9%. French, rookie, under contract with another team: that’s a lot of handicaps to really believe in this option.

Sebastian Vettel

Why could it be him? The quadruple German world champion (35 years old) is going through a nightmare this year at Aston Martin. To the point that he announced last week to bow out. But Alpine knows how to awaken passion. The proof, Alonso, before returning to the Blues, had also set sail far from F1. The prospect of playing the big points could serve as an elixir of youth for Vettel.

Why can it block? Vettel has gone green, and no longer supports the carbon circus of F1. So, even with a Zoé and a SNCF Frequency card, it’s not certain that he’s ready to continue in the big CO2 bath.

Chances of achievement: 0.99% The German hasn’t been competitive for years, it’s hard to imagine Alpine going after him.

Oscar Piastri

Why could it be him? After all, the Australian is a Renault driver. Omar Szafnauer assured that the team had full freedom to decide its future. And the French have been convinced of his talent for years.

Why can it block? Obviously, we can’t imagine that Piastri’s tweet assuring that he wouldn’t be racing next season at Alpine hasn’t been reread 200 times by his lawyers. And beyond the stories of the contract, such a snub bodes ill for a patching up in the weeks to come.

Chances of achievement: 0.1%. It is likely that Piastri has already signed a contract at McLaren.

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