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Wednesday, July 6, 2022

F1: Gasly returns to Alfa Tauri as transfer resumes

MONTREAL ( Associated Press) — Pierre Gasly’s return to Alpha Tauri next season is “100% confirmed,” and teams believe Oscar Piastri is in a position to move up to Formula One.

But Williams plans to keep his squad unchanged until the end of the year – good news, if true, for Nucholas Lafitti – and McLaren boss Zak Brown says his relationship with questioned driver Daniel Ricciardo is already are better.

It all came to a head on Saturday at the Canadian Grand Prix, the championship’s ninth event, with F1’s “soap opera of the summer”, a full six weeks before the start of the transfer season.

Speculation began to circulate last month, when Brown publicly told Ricciardo that he needed to improve on his performance with McLaren. Although the Australian’s contract runs through the end of 2023, Brown revealed McLaren has a “mechanism” to end it early.

But with the season returning to Canada for the first time since 2019, Toronto native Lafitti has admitted that his place at Williams is not secure. It has been suggested that Lafitti could be replaced after Sunday’s race by Piastri, the F2 champion. Piastri has a one-year contract with Alpine as a test and reserve driver, but the team has promised to help him find an F1 job by 2023.

Alpine boss Otmar Szafner answered “yes” to the question whether Piastri was fit for promotion, but said he had no idea beyond rumors the Australian was ready to replace Lafitti.

And Williams boss Jost Capito categorically ruled out the possibility that Lafitti will be out of a job after Sunday’s race at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Capito acknowledged that Piastri was “in a position to move up to Formula One” and was “definitely on the list” of any team looking for a driver.

But could Piastre be in Williams’ seat for the British Grand Prix? Capito said Alex Albon and Lafitti both have contracts.

“We are focused on this year, we have a team of drivers for this year,” said Capito. “We have no other plans. They both have a contract for the season and we plan to fulfill it.”

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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