Alpine F1 team principal Otmar Szafnauer has remarked that ‘he won’t be surprised’ to know a possible plot that was set against his team.
The summer break has brought us a regular dose of drama. It all started with Sebastian Vettel’s retirement announcement before the Hungarian Grand Prix.
This news was followed by a rather surprising move by Fernando Alonso. The 41-year-old left his current team for Aston Martin. The Spaniard will be driving alongside Lance Stroll for the 2023 season.
Losing veteran Alonso in a swift announcement must be painful for Alpine. However, much more painful news was yet to come.
After Alonso switched teams, Alpine promoted Oscar Piastri by giving him their F1 seat for the 2023 season. However, the Australian brutally rejected the offer by publicly tweeting their disapproval.
Now, Piastri is being linked with McLaren where he will probably replace Daniel Ricciardo.
Alpine has found itself in the middle of all this mess. Daniel Ricciardo got dragged into the drama too. The Alpine-Piastri-McLaren drama is the highlight of the summer break so far. However, the way the events have unfolded has raised some eyebrows.
All the happenings has made a multi-million dollar F1 racing organization look like a local karting team. Alpine definitely wants to get out of this mess and at the same time are very aggressively trying to get Piastri back or some compensation for the ‘huge’ investments they have done on the young Australian.
Did alpine become prey of the F1 Piranha club?
F1’s piranha club is no stranger to anyone who watches F1 regularly. Even if you watch any other sport, you know key figures, powerful and influential people affect the way things occur.
Has Alpine become prey to a well-planned plot? A plot that was in the making for a long time and waiting for that one right moment?
Sebastian Vettel’s retirement news was that one right moment.
It is hugely possible that Fernando Alonso was looking for another team all the time. It was clear to Fernando Alonso that Alpine wasn’t going to give him a straight 2-year extension on his contract. He was going to get the 2023 season with a chance of extension to the next year based on 2023’s performance. There were also provisions to shift the Spaniard to the WEC program after 2023.
Nevertheless, that was what Alpine planned. However, it didn’t go as planned at all. Alonso swiftly switched his teams to Aston Martin following Vettel’s retirement. Alpine lost Alonso as Aston Martin went on to offer 2 years straight to the 41-year-old. But can there be more to it?
Alpine quickly replaced Alonso with Piastri. However, the young Australian brutally declined the offer. This ‘betrayal’ and Alonso’s switch came all of a sudden and caught Alpine F1 off-guard leaving the team in a rather embarrassing situation.
Piastri wouldn’t have taken such a risk if he didn’t have a guaranteed seat at McLaren. This makes us think that, Was McLaren also involved in this mess from the very start?
Piastri and his management team might have been planning to get in McLaren’s seat after his contract with Alpine expires (probably in November). However, Vettel’s retirement changed the plans and things happened early.
Was everything planned? Otmar Szafnauer thinks so.
The silly season has gone off the rails this year.
Given the quick move of Alonso followed by Piastri’s betrayal, Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer thinks that there might have been some talks behind Alpine’s back.
When asked if some information might have been shared behind his back Szafnauer replied:
“Look, I have no record of it [information behind shared], but this is Formula 1 and maybe in a couple of years someone says that they have evidence of shared information, I would not be surprised.”
“I always tell everyone that in Formula 1 you have to act as if everyone knows everything. That there are no secrets in these things. When you ask someone not to say anything, they act like everyone knows (laughs). That’s how I’ve run my business in Formula 1 for 25 years. And if this (sharing information between the protagonists) has happened, you should not be surprised,”
Whether it was all planned or not, no one knows. But one thing is for certain now. Piastri is aiming for the seat of McLaren and seems to possess two legal contracts.
Alpine has already warned that they will drag Piastri into a legal battle as they feel they have invested heavily in the young Australian and deserve compensation.
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