MONTREAL ( Associated Press) — Pierre Gasly is “100% confirmed” to return to AlphaTauri next season, and teams believe Oscar Piastri is up for promotion to a Formula One seat.
But Williams expects its lineup to remain unchanged until the end of the year – good news for Nicolas Latifi, if true – and McLaren boss Zak Brown said his relationship with embattled driver Daniel Ricciardo has never been better.
What unfolded on Saturday at the Canadian Grand Prix was the ninth event on this year’s calendar and F1’s driver movement is expected to hit a solid full swing six weeks before the “silly season”.
Speculation has intensified since last month when Brown publicly put Ricciardo on notice for taking down his performance with McLaren. Although the Australian has a contract that runs until 2023, Brown revealed there are “mechanisms” in place for McLaren to conclude the deal early.
But as the series returns to Canada for the first time since 2019, Toronto native Latifi has admitted that his seat with Williams is not secure. It has been suggested that Latifi could be replaced after Sunday’s race by Piastri, the current F2 champion. Piastri has signed a one-year deal with Alpine as reserve and test driver, but the team has promised to help him find an F1 seat for 2023.
Asked if Piastri was up for promotion, Alpine principal Otmar Szafner said “yes”, but said he had no information beyond speculation swirling through the paddock that the Australian was ready to replace Latifi. was.
And Williams chief Jost Capito dismissed the notion that Latifi would be out of work after Sunday’s race at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Capito acknowledged that Piastri was “ready to move to Formula One” and was “definitely one on the list” of any team looking for a driver.
But could Piastre be in the same Williams seat as the British Grand Prix? Capito said both Alex Albon and Latifi are under contract.
“We are focused on this year, we have a driver lineup for this year,” Capito said. “We have no other plans. Both have a contract for the season and we have plans to fulfill it. ,
gasly lock down
The situation is not bad at all for Gasly at AlphaTauri, as team principal Franz Tost was firm that the Frenchman would return in 2023.
“It’s 100% confirmed,” Toast said on Saturday.
Gasly himself didn’t seem so sure just a week ago in Baku, as the 26-year-old insisted he wanted to run for victory and not just points. This has led to speculation that Gasly may try to break free from Red Bull, which has supported him for most of his career but does not have an open F1 seat and has extended Sergio Perez’s contract.
Tost put the speculation to rest.
“He will be our driver of the Scuderia AlphaTauri, in 2023,” Tost said.
But when asked how Gasly was persuaded to stay, the team owner said: “He has a valid contract, nothing more to say.”
Ricciardo has been asked about his future in both F1 and McLaren, as Brown publicly rated the Australian time with the team as overwhelming.
Ricciardo says his contract is in the clear until 2023, but Brown has indicated there are clauses that could lead to an early exit. When asked how their relationship has been since Brown publicly criticized the popular driver, Brown said “relations with Daniel have never been better” and the two recently had dinner together in London.
Brown also said McLaren bears some responsibility for Ricciardo’s struggles. McLaren is currently not offering Ricciardo or Lando Norris a car to compete with Red Bull and Ferrari.
“We need to build a faster race car,” Brown said. “Last year at Monza when we had a strong race car we could see what Daniel and Lando can do with it. We need to focus on giving our drivers better race cars and I think Daniel is highly He is inspired and has all our support. We are having fun and have a great relationship with him and hope we have a great weekend.
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