Alpine has offered Oscar Piastri to McLaren if Daniel Ricciardo is unable to compete in F1 Bahrain GP after his positive COVID-19 test.

With Ricciardo down due to COVID-19, Alpine has offered its reserve driver Piastri to McLaren if the Woking-based outfit wants to take him in as a replacement for the upcoming Bahrain GP or any of the F1 races in the future where they need someone else.

Piastri remains contracted to Alpine and the team retains first option on his services. “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 statement from Alpine reads.

“Oscar will remain fully contracted to Alpine, and we will retain first option on his services.” Having won the 2020 F3 and 2021 F2 titles, Piastri was forced to take up the reserve role with Alpine after finding no seat to race in the 2022 F1 season.

Despite an opening at Alfa Romeo and a late one at Haas, things didn’t work out for him. He will have an extensive F1 test programme in 2022 which includes FP1 running, but Alpine has now made him available for other teams if they need his services.

This comes as a bit of a surprise after McLaren team boss Andreas Seidl named Mercedes reserves Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries along with Paul di Resta, but had no mention of Piastri while speaking to media earlier in the day at Bahrain circuit.

Seidl expects Ricciardo to be ready as he is feeling well now. “First of all, I am confident he will be fit again next weekend,” said Seidl to media including “He is feeling better already but, as we know, it simply takes a few days to get fully back into shape.

“In terms of reserve drivers, very similar to last year we have an agreement with Mercedes to share reserve drivers [Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries]. We have also Paul di Resta, similar to last year, on standby in case it’s needed but again, we expect Daniel to be back in good shape for next week,” summed up Seidl.

After a solid Barcelona test, McLaren has had a rough run in Bahrain with laps lost due to cooling and brake issues. While Norris has been able to run decent laps for three days, Ricciardo certainly has missed it all and will go into the year with lack of laps.

Having had a tough first season with McLaren, Ricciardo was hoping for a better start to 2022 but Seidl agrees that this is not an ideal situation. “In terms of preparation, going into the season, that is not what we have been aiming for,” he said.

“Definitely, it puts us and Daniel on the back foot as well, but from something we couldn’t control, Daniel couldn’t control, we have to accept what it is. Again, with the experience Daniel is having with going now into the second year together with the team, [I’m] still optimistic that the small disadvantage he will have starting the race weekend here next week won’t take that long until this is fully compensated for.”

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