Aussie twist emerges after Fernando Alonso bombshell rocks F1

Fernando Alonso and Oscar Piastri are pictured side by side.
Fernando Alonso's move to Aston Martin for the 2023 F1 season has opened the door for Australian driver Oscar Piastri to finally join the grid. Pictures: Getty Images

Two-time F1 world champion Fernando Alonso's shock switch to Aston Martin for 2023 has potentially opened the door for Australian driver Oscar Piastri to line up on the grid next season.

Alonso stunned the F1 world on Monday by announcing his departure from Alpine, with the seat at Aston Martin only available after the sudden retirement of fellow former champion Sebastian Vettel.

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While F1 fans couldn't believe the decision, it would have put a smile on the face of Australian driver Piastri.

Piastri is a much-hyped F1 prospect after winning the F3 and F2 championships in consecutive years, but wasn't able to secure a seat on the grid this season.

He instead took a role as reserve driver for Alpine - and with Alonso now moving on, it would seem the F1 door has finally opened for the Melbourne-born racer.

The 21-year-old would be the first Australian to debut in F1 since Daniel Ricciardo in 2011 if a seat at Alpine comes to fruition.

Piastri is managed by former F1 star Mark Webber, and has had his junior career supported by Alpine, formerly Renault.

The pair had been clear with Alpine that they would look for opportunities beyond the French manufacturer if they were unable to secure him a seat for 2023, with Piastri also linked to a potential drive with Williams.

While nothing has been announced in the wake of Alonso's departure, Piastri's long-running association with Alpine leaves him as the favourite to take the seat.

While confirming Alonso's departure, Alpine says it is premature to add to speculation Piastri would be his replacement.

"The team will announce its driver line-up for the 2023 Formula One season in due course," Alpine said.

"We look forward to finishing the remainder of the 2022 season with Fernando in blue, and we'll keep pushing to the maximum until the final lap in November."

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Alonso, 41, is set to become the driver with the most starts in F1 history later this season when he appears in his 350th race and passes Kimi Raikkonen.

The Spaniard sits 10th in the drivers standings this season, despite having shown great pace at various points this season.

He won back to back championships for Renault in 2005 and 2006, and lost out to Sebastian Vettel by just three points in 2012.

In a statement released by Aston Martin announcing his arrival at the team, Alonso said he was still determined to compete for race wins and keen for the opportunity to help improve the flagging Aston Martin outfit.

Alpine F1 drivers Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso are seen waving to the crowd at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Alpine driver Esteban Ocon will have a new teammate next season, with Fernando Alonso switching from Alpine to Aston Martin. (Photo by Bryn Lennon - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images) (Formula 1 via Getty Images)

"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," Alonso said.

"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.

"The passion and desire to perform that I have witnessed convince me to maintain my enjoyment and commitment to the sport.

"I intend to win again in this sport and therefore I have to take the opportunities that feel right to me."

On social media, fans couldn't believe the news.

Alonso has raced in F1 for 19 seasons and has won 32 races.

Motor racing rules precluded Piastri from backing up in Formula Two this season as a previous winner of the second-tier championship, leaving him without a full-time drive for 2022.

If Piastri earns a 2023 call-up, he will join Frenchman Esteban Ocon as Alpine's drivers.

Ocon is eighth in the F1 championship after the weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix when he finished ninth, one place behind teammate Alonso.

Alpine is fourth in the 2022 constructor standings.

With AAP

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