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Christian Horner regrets not signing Piastri at the junior level

Oscar Piastri has been in the news a little more than expected after a social media fiasco that saw the racer denying Alpine’s official announcement that he signed a new contract. He also confirmed that Alpine will not be his destination in 2023, which brought McLaren into the picture.

Oscar Piastri has been in the news a little more than expected after a social media fiasco that saw the racer denying Alpine’s official announcement that he signed a new contract. He also confirmed that Alpine will not be his destination in 2023, which brought McLaren into the picture.

However, Christian Horner revealed that Red Bull had an opportunity to sign the young driver a few years ago for the F1 junior team. The former nine-time world champion expressed his regret over that deal not going through. 

“He drove for the Arden team in Formula 4 and Formula Renault, and was obviously a significant talent,” said Horner.

“There was an opportunity for Red Bull to look at him at the time, and we didn’t take up that option, which is something that I regret. But what he went on to achieve is phenomenal, in Formula 3 and Formula 2.”

Piastri raced for Arden in British F4 and Formula Renault Eurocup through 2017 and 2018. Arden, whose junior team was founded by Horner, saw the young driver rise through the ranks before joining Renault’s academy. He went on to win the F3 and F2 titles in back-to-back seasons. 

Although it was strongly believed that Oscar Piastri will drive for Alpine, some contractual complications meant that there was no opportunity for him to be an F1 driver with them in 2023. Fernando Alonso leaving them for Aston Martin caused the initial rile, and now Alpine is focusing on current AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly. 

AlphaTauri, Red Bull’s sister company, will not let go of Gasly easily and will allow such a deal to progress with Alpine if they have an ideal replacement. As it stands, Red Bull isn’t considering any of the younger drivers for a promotion to the top tier, as according to Horner, they are in “Good shape”.  

Red Bull’s Team Principal also mentioned that they are keeping a keen eye on plenty of young drivers who are making it through the F4 from Karting. He assured that the company would continue to invest in youth and acknowledged how good a job Red Bull has done giving young kids a chance.