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Exclusive: Aussie prodigy set for F1 race weekend debut

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Australian racing prodigy Oscar Piastri will reportedly make his Formula 1 race weekend debut with Alpine at next month’s French Grand Prix.

In a new addition to the sporting regulations, teams are now mandated to give their rookie drivers, who have participated in less than two F1 races in their career, a seat on at least two occasions during first practice in 2022.

The rule was introduced to allow the next generation of F1 drivers to gain valuable race experience, with Nyck de Vries already receiving an opportunity in Alex Albon’s Williams, while now suspended driver Juri Vips stepped into Sergio Perez’s Red Bull.

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Now Autosport is reporting Piastri could be next to earn some track time.

As Alpine’s reserve driver, Piastri’s two planned outings are seen as key parts of his development, along with the extensive running of last year’s A521 at a variety of tracks.

Asked when fans could expect their first glimpse of Piastri behind the wheel, Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer did not give an exact race weekend, but said it would be “soon”.

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“We can tell you it won’t be Silverstone [because the team are introducing another update package],” Szafnauer said as reported by Autosport.

“But it’s not far off. The answer is we plan to put him in the car. It won’t be that far off, but we haven’t announced it yet.

Given that Austria – the grand prix following Silverstone – includes a sprint race in which the drivers head straight into qualifying after first practice, it appears Piastri is most likely to make his debut at Alpine’s home track, Paul Ricard.

Piastri is widely rumoured to be replacing Nicholas Latifi at Williams next year.

Speaking at the Canadian Grand Prix, Szafnauer was asked if he believed Piastri would hold a space on the grid in 2023, which he confirmed he did.

“We don’t talk about the details of our contracts with the drivers and that’s something that we never do,” Szafnauer said. “So as much as I’d like to tell you, I don’t think I can.

“But when I do say yes, that’s the plan.”

If Piastri were to join Williams, it could involve the team switching from Mercedes to Renault engines.

“Oscar’s a bright young talent coming through, as we all know,” Szafnauer said.

“We’re contracted with Oscar and we have some options on him. So, there’s no real need to hurry that, so we’ll take our time and at the right moment, within the silly season, we’ll have a look around and make those types of decisions.”

“And he’s been testing last year’s car. At more than just Silverstone. He’s done a few others and will do some more in the future. And he’s doing very well.”

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Exclusive: Kyrgios laughs off wardrobe questions after win – TalkOfNews.com

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Nick Kyrgios has laughed off questions regarding his on-court attire, as he opted to change his shoes and hat before taking a post-match interview following his gutsy performance in the fourth round.

Kyrgios’ detractors were desperate for something, anything, to take the shine off his impressive five-set win, where he battled a shoulder ailment throughout, receiving treatment several times.

But if his win over Stefanos Tsitsipas was a ‘circus’, as the vanquished Greek proposed it was, this was anything but.

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Save for a couple of words with the chair umpire late in the contest, Kyrgios was focused, and almost reserved at times.

Few sports stars are as polarising – and when Kyrgios switched his hat and shoes for a red Jordan brand cap and some matching sneakers, it gave his critics – of which there were fewer than his last match, for obvious reasons – the ammunition they needed.

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On commentary, Aussie legend Todd Woodbridge said that his countryman “might receive a letter in his locker” about the hat and shoe change.

The 27-year-old’s post-win press conference was nothing like the combative environment that it was two days ago, right until the very end.

A reporter posed the idea that Kyrgios invites his own controversy, including an open flaunting of clear wardrobe rules.

“Why then would you walk on to centre court with bright red trainers on and do an interview in a red cap?” Kyrgios was asked.

The reply was typically Kyrgios.

“Because I do what I want,” he responded, before being pressed on whether or not he thought he was above the rules.

“No. I’m not above the rules. I just like wearing my Jordans.”

The line of questioning continued despite a moderator’s attempted intervention, when Kyrgios was quick to correct the journalist that he hadn’t ‘moaned’ about controversy.

“I haven’t moaned. I love it,” he said.

“Yeah, it’s just more attention for me. What’s that saying? Any publicity is good publicity, right?

“Keep doing you then champion,” he said to the question asker before moving on.

Kyrgios will get a day off before facing Chile’s Cristian Garin for a spot in the final four.

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Exclusive: The squad regroups – TalkOfNews.com

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Erik ten Hag was afforded a first opportunity to work with a number of returning Reds at Carrington on Monday.

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Exclusive: De Minaur bundled out of Wimbledon in classic – TalkOfNews.com

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Cristian Garin came from two sets down and saved two match points in the fifth before beating Alex de Minaur to reach his first grand slam quarter-final at Wimbledon.

The unseeded Chilean trailed 5-3 in the first-to-10 fifth-set tiebreaker before winning six straight points to take a 9-5 lead.

He then converted his second match point to advance 2-6, 5-7, 7-6 (3), 6-4, 7-6 (6) on Court No.2 after four hours and 34 minutes.

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Garin is the first Chilean man to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal since Fernando Gonzales in 2009.

The 19th-seeded de Minaur had never lost a set against Garin in three previous meetings and looked set to maintain that streak when he led 3-1 in the third-set tiebreaker. The Australian then held two match points at 5-4 in the fifth.

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