Alpine's Piastri offered to McLaren as reserve driver after Ricciardo Covid test


Oscar Piastri could be in line for a shock F1 debut with McLaren after being confirmed as a back-up reserve drive

Oscar Piastri, 2022 F1 testing

Piastri could be in line for a surprise debut next weekend in Bahrain

Clive Rose/Getty Images

Alpine has offered F2 champion Oscar Piastri to McLaren as reserve driver in the event one of its drivers needs replacing.

It potentially opens the door for Piastri to replace Daniel Ricciardo at next weekend’s season opening Bahrain Grand Prix after the Australian tested positive for Covid-19.

Piastri is fuliflling the same role this season at Alpine after winning the Formula 2 championship comfortably in 2021. He won the F3 and F2 titles in consecutive seasons but could not secure a seat on the F1 grid for this year.

He was linked with the Alfa Romeo seat alongside Valtteri Bottas before Guanyu Zhou was confirmed as partnering the Finn.

“In the spirit of offering maximum racing opportunities to our stable of young talent, we have agreed that McLaren may call upon BWT Alpine F1 Team reserve driver Oscar Piastri in the event one of their drivers is unable to race,” a team statement said.

“Oscar will remain fully contracted to Alpine and we will retain first option on his services.”

Ricciardo hasn’t turned a single lap in the Bahrain pre-season tests after falling ill on the eve of the event.

The Australian subsequently tested positive for Covid on Friday night and now faces a race against time to be well enough to race in the opening weekend of the 2022 season.

He is expected to be fit in time for the Bahrain race.