Fernando Alonso posted a thumbs-up video on Instagram at the same time Oscar Piastri announced he would not be driving for Alpine in 2023.
A dramatic first couple of days of F1’s summer break for the French team began when Aston Martin announced on Monday morning that Alonso was leaving Alpine to join them for 2023 on a multi-year contract.
At that point, it looked something of a no-brainer that Esteban Ocon would be joined for his fourth season with Alpine by their academy driver Piastri, who has been waiting for an opportunity to race in F1 since winning the 2021 Formula 2 championship.
Alpine duly confirmed on Tuesday evening that Piastri would be stepping up from his test and reserve driver role next year. But unusually, there were only quotes in the press release from team principal Otmar Szafnauer and not the driver himself.
A couple of hours later came a tweet from Piastri rubbishing the Alpine announcement, saying: “This is wrong and I have not signed a contract with Alpine for 2023. I will not be driving for Alpine next year.”
That statement appeared to give credence to earlier rumours that the 21-year-old may have had a better offer – perhaps from McLaren, whom it had been reported Piastri’s manager, Mark Webber, had been sounding out with a view to replacing Daniel Ricciardo.
Just as Piastri’s tweet was being posted, Alonso posted a video on Instagram.
— Out of Context F1 / 200k 🤟 (@f1nocontext) August 2, 2022
It was only a five-second clip, showing the Spaniard walking along a street in his home town of Oviedo smirking and giving a thumbs-up, to the soundtrack of a tune with the lyrics “it feels like summer” – potentially a nod to Formula 1’s ‘silly season’ of driver transfer rumours.
So, if it is more than coincidence that Alonso has posted what could, at any other time, be considered a fairly innocuous video just when things are kicking off at Alpine, what do we take from this?
Well, there have been suggestions of disagreement between the 41-year-old and his current team about the length of the new deal they had offered him to stay, while Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi had appeared keen to ease Alonso towards a potential World Endurance Championship drive in the next few years.
Perhaps there is a tinge of disappointment from the double former World Champion over the way he has been treated – although why he would take pleasure from Piastri’s dispute with Alpine is difficult to ascertain.
Mind you, he is not known as being the master of F1 politics for no reason…