NASCAR: The one team that might be in jeopardy.
NASCAR: The only team that Asher Fair could put in jeopardy is NASCAR.
Other than Nicholas Latifi, if Oscar Piastri is confirmed at Williams for the 2023 Formula One season, there is one driver who will be the largest loser.
Oscar Piastri, despite winning consecutive titles in Formula Renault Eurocup, Formula 3, and Formula 2 in 2019, 2020, and 2021, was strangely denied a Formula 1 seat in 2022.
The 21-year-old Australian is now Alpine’s reserve driver, and the French club stated earlier this season that they would be willing to loan him to another team for the 2023 season in exchange for a return, if a return was included in the contract.
Now, it appears that transaction has been completed, with Piastri expected to replace Nicholas Latifi at Williams with Alexander Albon next season.
Given Latifi’s performance, it was widely expected that a replacement for him would be found for the Grove-based club in 2023, even as early as the 2022 season.
Overall, it’ll be Nyck de Vries, not Latifi, who ends up missing out here, if the transaction doesn’t fall through.
De Vries has been in the running for a Formula One seat for a long time but has yet to land one. He outpaced Latifi in a Williams test before of the Spanish Grand Prix at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
There are still those who predict Lewis Hamilton will retire a year before his current Mercedes contract expires, and de Vries’ ties to the Silver Arrows are considered as a “insurance policy” for team principal Toto Wolff.
Wolff has dealt with surprise replacements before, most recently in the 2017 season when 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg announced his retirement.
De Vries won the 2020-2021 Formula E global championship in his second season with Mercedes after winning the 2019 Formula 2 title with ART Grand Prix. He is presently a test and reserve driver for the Mercedes Formula 1 team. He’s in his third season with the Formula E squad, but McLaren has acquired the team and will compete in the sport next year.
The 27-year-old Dutchman has won everything he is required to win at this point in his career to be considered for a Formula One seat, for lack of a better word.
But it doesn’t appear as though it will be the seat many had linked him to for 2023, with the Piastri confirmation potentially being made by Williams as early as later this month.