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Pit Talk, Fernando Alonso rejects idea of Alpine conspiracy, Oscar Piastri, Sebastian Vettel takes swipe at McLaren over Daniel Ricciardo treatment, Belgian GP, latest, updates

Fernando Alonso rejected the idea that he was involved in the “conspiracy” to destroy Alpina and the Oscar Piastre saga that followed.

In a move that stunned the F1 paddock, Alonso was announced as the replacement for retired Sebastian Vettel at Aston Martin for 2023.

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Piastre was announced by the team as Alpine’s reserve driver in place of Alonso, only for the Australian to make another statement on social media.

Instead, Piastri has emerged as a shock contender to join McLaren and steal Daniel Ricciardo’s seat after announcing his shock exit from the team.

It is very sad to see what happened to Ricciardo | 02:00

Additional coverage

‘I’m not here to help’: Ice-cold McLaren star’s brutal response to troubled Ricciardo exit

Belgium’s burning questions: Ferrari’s last chance saloon; Ricciardo’s new role in the championship battle

Daniel Ricciardo hints at future F1 – ‘I never want to just make up the numbers’

Alonso could not have foreseen the chaos that could easily have ensued, but he could not have guessed that Piastre’s manager, Mark Webber, had an idea about Piastre’s intentions due to allegations between Alonso and his manager, Flavio Briatore.

When asked if he knew of his son’s plans, Alonso immediately denied any knowledge.

“No, not at all,” Alonso said.

“In the early days, I read that plot and actually reading that plot was very sad and upsetting, because I made this decision, I explained the reasons for it.

“I’ve been in talks with the team about a contract extension for a few months but nothing came of it and nothing happened officially and Aston called me after Seb retired. If Sebastian stays, which probably won’t happen, he moves to Aston.

“It was a very clear and simple decision on my part and what happened after Oscar and what happened is not my business and I will stay completely.”

Vettel’s brutal McLaren slide on Ricciardo’s fight

Sebastian Vettel has laid the blame for Daniel Ricciardo’s recent struggles at McLaren’s feet, believing the team “failed to deliver” on the Australian owner.

Vettel got a first-hand account of Ricciardo’s ability in 2014 when they were Red Bull teammates.

‘This will not break my spirit’ | 01:44

Like Ricciardo, the German has struggled to get hold of new vehicles in recent years, particularly since joining Aston Martin from Ferrari.

Despite the West Australian hinting he may take a break from F1 after the 2022 season, Vettel believes Ricciardo still has a lot to offer.

“I think he’s still one of the best drivers,” Vettel said.

I competed against him, I enjoyed competing against him, and it was a very unpleasant side to be beaten by him years ago, and I still think he has very, very much to offer.

“I think, in this regard, and I don’t know the details, but I think McLaren has failed to fulfill its potential. It’s sad to see him put in such a difficult position but I wish him all the best.

“I’m sure, eventually, his talent and qualities will shine through.”

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