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Oscar Piastri

Horner reveals "regret" over not signing Piastri as junior driver

The Red Bull boss was speaking on the F1 Beyond the Grid podcast about Piastri - who drove for his junior squad.

Oscar Piastri
Article
To news overview © XPB

Red Bull Formula 1 boss Christian Horner has revealed his "regret" over not signing Oscar Piastri to the junior drivers' programme when presented with the chance.

Piastri, the 2021 Formula 2 champion will make his F1 debut in 2023 with McLaren - having been nurtured up through the ranks by Alpine - who intended to promote him to a race seat next season after Fernando Alonso jumped ship.

However, Piastri publicly rejected that offer, saying he would not drive for Alpine in 2023, having already penned a deal to join McLaren.

As RacingNews365.com exclusively revealed, the FIA's Contract Recognition Board detailed the failings on Alpine's part which drove away its prized possession.

But Piastri could have been a Red Bull junior Horner revealed on the latest episode of the F1: Beyond the Grid podcast.

Piastri to Red Bull?

While calling the situation "difficult" to comment on as he did not have all the facts, Horner believes Red Bull would have handled the contract situation differently - saying Piastri would have been "under lock and key."

"He drove for the Arden team in Formula 4 and Formula Renault, and was obviously a significant talent," Horner told host Tom Clarkson.

"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 I regret.

"But what he went onto achieve in Formula 2 and Formula 3 is phenomenal.

"If he had been a driver here, there is no way he wouldn't have been under lock and key for a period of time - I wasn't party [to negotiations], so it's difficult to judge what was promised or reneged on or so on."

Horner would take Ricciardo if at Alpine

Piastri will replace fellow Australian Daniel Ricciardo at McLaren alongside Lando Norris, but Horner believes his former driver is still worth taking a chance on if he were at Alpine.

"He's a great, driver, but he's obviously lost his way a bit, it would be great to see him remain in the sport," Horner explained.

"I think I probably would [take him back if I were at Alpine] to be honest.

"They obviously know him from a couple of seasons ago, and he was very together during his last season there scoring podiums, and I think he's the type of guy that you could rebuild him, it's obviously been a not a great experience for him, for whatever reason.

"You've just got to think back to some of the drives that he did for us, some of the wins that he had, the podiums, some of the stunning overtakes that he was capable of.

"That's still in there, I'm sure and he just needs a bit of a reset.

"Like in all sports, confidence is a big element, and for whatever reason, he hasn't got the feeling from the car across two sets of regulations.

"So that's probably eating away at his confidence, but there's still a very, very capable driver in there, and you don't just forget how to how to deliver.

So I hope for him he, he gets another opportunity and gets himself back on the grid for next year."

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