July 23, 2024

MONTREAL (AP) — Pierre Gasly is “100% confirmed” to return to AlphaTauri next season, and teams believe Oscar Piastri is ready for a promotion into a Formula One seat.

But Williams expects its lineup to remain unchanged through the end of the year — great news, if true, for Nicholas Latifi — and McLaren boss Zak Brown said his relationship with embattled driver Daniel Ricciardo has never been better.

All that was revealed Saturday at the Canadian Grand Prix, the ninth event on this year’s calendar and a solid six weeks before F1’s “silly season” of driver movement is expected to hit full swing.

Speculation has swirled since last month when Brown publicly put Ricciardo on notice to pick up his performance with McLaren. Although the Australian has a contract that runs through 2023, Brown revealed there are “mechanisms” for McLaren to end the deal early.

But as the series returned to Canada for the first time since 2019, Toronto native Latifi has admitted that his seat with Williams is not secure. There have been suggestions Latifi could be replaced after Sunday’s race by Piastri, the reigning F2 champion. Piastri has a one-year deal with Alpine as the reserve and test driver, but the team had promised to help him find an F1 seat for 2023.

Alpine principal Otmar Szafnauer said “yes” when asked if Piastri was ready for the promotion, but said he had no information beyond the speculation swirling through the paddock that the Australian was set to replace Latifi.F1 News: Pierre Gasly Hits Rock Bottom At Alpine - "Such A Lack Of  Performance" - F1 Briefings: Formula 1 News, Rumors, Standings and More

And Jost Capito, head of Williams, seemed to dismiss the notion Latifi will be out of work following Sunday’s race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Capito acknowledged Piastri was “ready to go into Formula One” and was “one on the list for sure” of any team seeking a driver.

But could Piastri be in a Williams seat as soon as the British Grand Prix? Capito said both Alex Albon and Latifi are under contract.

“We are focused on this year, we have a driver lineup for this year,” Capito said. “We don’t have any other plans. Both have a contract for the season and that’s what our plan is, to fulfill that.”

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