Alex Albon has signed for a second season and more at Williams as the saga of where Oscar Piastri will end up in Formula 1 next year continues.
Albon, 26, joined the Oxford-based team at the start of 2022 after leaving Red Bull at the end of 2020 and spending last year as a test driver.
The British-Thai driver has won all three Williams Championship points this season – including a memorable run in Melbourne in April – and has now quashed speculation over his future by signing a ‘multi-year deal’.
“Well, I’m here for 2023 and beyond. It was a good year this year, we wanted more, but that’s the goal [points at trophies] and that’s what we intend,” Albon said in a video on the Williams F1 website.
“It’s nice to have a bit of peace, obviously, to continue my career and then be with Williams. Obviously we’ve had a really good start to the season, I’ve really enjoyed my time here. For the future and for the rest of the season we will keep our heads down. We will focus on maximizing the car and doing the best job we can. But to know that it goes beyond that is very exciting.”
However, there was no news regarding the future of Albon’s current team-mate Nicholas Latifi, with rumors that Piastri could take the second seat at Williams next year. The announcement comes amid the situation surrounding Piastri and his rejection of a seat at Alpine after the team announced him as Fernando Alonso’s replacement for 2023.
In a tweet of his own, Albon mocked Piastri’s tweet from Tuesday night, saying: “I understand that, with my agreement, Williams Racing put out a press release this afternoon that I will be driving for them next year. That’s right and I’ve signed a contract with Williams for 2023. I’ll be driving for Williams next year.”
Jost Capito, Williams CEO and Team Principal, said: “Alex is an excellent driver and a valuable member of Williams Racing, so we are delighted to confirm that we will be working with him on a long-term basis.
“Alex brings an excellent mix of skills and insightful lessons that will help the team to greater success in the future. He is a fierce competitor, has proven to be a popular and loyal member of the team and we are delighted that he will provide us with a solid base to continue to develop into this new era of F1 cars.”
A dramatic few days have seen Alonso surprise the paddock by signing a ‘multi-year deal’ with Aston Martin from next year, leaving Alpine with a place to fill in partner Esteban Ocon.
Last year’s F2 champion Piastri was announced on Tuesday night as the team’s F1 driver next year in a press release that raised suspicions as it did not include quotes from the 21-year-old himself and, hours later, Piastri stood by that press release. had been published “without his permission” and “has not signed a contract with Alpine for 2023”, adding that he “will not ride for Alpine next year”.
Piastri, managed by nine-time grand prix winner and fellow Aussie Mark Webber, said in his stunning rebuttal on Tuesday on Twitter: “I understand that, without my consent, Alpine F1 issued a press release late this afternoon that I’m riding for them next year.
“This is wrong and I have not signed a contract with Alpine for 2023. I will not ride for Alpine next year.”
The Australian joined the Alpine Academy as a teenager and became just the third man after Charles Leclerc and George Russell to win back-to-back Formula 2 and Formula 3 drivers’ championships.
Piastri has enjoyed a string of triumphs in the early stages of his career, winning the 2019 Formula Renault Eurocup and the 2020 Formula 3 Championship, as well as last year’s F2 triumph in his rookie season.
He became the sixth driver to win GP2/F2 on debut and in 2022 he tested the 2021 Alpine F1 car, the A521, at locations including Silverstone and Qatar while waiting in the wings for a grid position to open up. .