Alex Albon Signs Multiyear Williams Contract, Jokes About Oscar Piastri-Alpine Drama

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVAugust 3, 2022

HUNGARORING, MOGYOROD, HUNGARY - 2022/07/30: Alexander Albon of Williams  in the paddock before  final practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary. (Photo by Marco Canoniero/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Marco Canoniero/LightRocket via Getty Images

Formula One driver Alex Albon had some fun with the announcement that he signed a contract with Williams Racing and will be behind the wheel for the team in 2023.

Oscar Piastri seemed to appreciate the humor:

Oscar Piastri @OscarPiastri

Congrats mate πŸ‘ <a href="https://t.co/Y1uJ1IXdQN">pic.twitter.com/Y1uJ1IXdQN</a>

That Piastri responded was notable because he has been in the middle of some drama with BWT Alpine. Alpine F1 announced its 2023 driver lineup would be Piastri and Esteban Ocon, with the former replacing Aston Martin-bound Fernando Alonso.

However, Piastri responded with the following message: "I understand that, without my agreement, Alpine F1 have put out a press release late this afternoon that I am driving for them next year. This is wrong and I have not signed a contract with Alpine for 2023. I will not be driving for Alpine next year."

Albon used similar wording in his announcement in a clear tongue-in-cheek moment.

Piastri is the reigning Formula 2 champion and seemed set to be an important part of Alpine's future in the coming years. However, Nate Saunders of ESPN reported the 21-year-old signed a pre-contract deal with McLaren, which just so happens to be battling Alpine for fourth place in this year's constructors' championship.

It is another blow for Alpine considering Alonso's departure comes as something of a surprise.

He will replace the retiring Sebastian Vettel at Aston Martin in a move Saunders said "blindsided" Alpine because he previously told the team he planned to drive for it in 2023 with an option for 2024.

Yet "Alpine's desire to keep Alonso for at least one more contract is what convinced Piastri and his manager, ex-Red Bull driver Mark Webber, to explore other options," per Saunders.

McLaren will still feature Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo next season, although Piastri could be a long-term replacement for the latter, who is under contract until the end of 2023.

As for Albon, he is in 19th place in this year's driver standings with three points. The 26-year-old earned one point at the Australian Grand Prix and two points at the Miami Grand Prix.