Formula 2 title favourite Oscar Piastri will be Alpine’s reserve driver in 2022 after missing out on a Formula 1 race drive.
Piastri, the 2019 Formula Renault Eurocup and 2020 Formula 3 champion, is on course to complete a hat-trick of junior single-seater titles.
But despite that impressive record the Alpine protege will be forced into a year without a race programme.
His fellow Alpine junior Guanyu Zhou, who is second to Piastri in F2 despite being in his third year in the category, is poised to take the final vacant seat on the 2022 grid with Alfa Romeo.
Alpine has promised to arrange the best alternative programme for Piastri instead and has started that by naming him reserve driver – a role currently occupied by three-time F1 podium finisher Daniil Kvyat.
Piastri will likely take part in tests for the team in that role, as well as any Friday practice sessions made mandatory for rookie drivers.
Alpine says Piastri will have “an extensive testing programme to continue his preparation and training for a future Formula 1 race seat” and will “consistently attend grands prix to fully integrate with the race team, learn what is expected of an F1 driver and be ready for when the opportunity comes”.
Piastri called it “the next step towards my aim for a race seat in 2023, which is very exciting”.
“I’ve proved myself in the junior formulas over the last couple of years and feel like I’m ready for Formula 1 now,” said Piastri.
“Along with the trackside experience at race weekends, we will put together a substantial test programme in order to keep developing myself to grow even more prepared for a race seat.
“I’m very thankful to Alpine for their support. We’ve enjoyed two very successful seasons together in the Academy and I’m grateful for the faith they’ve put in me for this next step with an eye on a bigger future.
“My focus now is finishing the Formula 2 Championship in the best possible way with Prema and I’m looking forward to being back in the car and pushing hard on track.”