Alpine F1 finds itself in a complete mess as they try to replace a leaving Fernando Alonso with Oscar Piastri.
Sebastian Vettel’s retirement news came as a shocker. But what happened afterward is just making things more and more complicated.
Fernando Alonso and Lawrence Stroll grab the opportunity. Alonso gets the seat of Aston Martin for 2023 and beyond and the Billionaire gets another multi-world champion for the team.
Well, Alpine should have found itself in a more relaxing situation after the announcement. Yeah losing Alonso was a big blow but wouldn’t have been that bad given the things that followed didn’t happen.
Nevertheless, it all started going downward and Alpine F1 now finds itself in a complete mess.
Alpine F1’s misery
The move from Alonso came as a surprise. It was surprising, it was sudden and above all it was unexpected. Well, expected too in a way.
Alonso wanted a multi-year contract and ran away with the Aston Martin deal.
The news was a surprise for Alpine F1 just like for anyone else. The alpine boss told the media that Alonso had assured that the rumors about him leaving Alpine for Aston Martin wasn’t true.
However, that was not the case as team principal Otmar Szafnauer was also equally surprised and had no clue until the announcement.
Anyways, Alonso left Alpine, which meant that the French team had to look for an alternative.
And Guess What?
They have an incredible talent for driving for the team as a reserve driver.
Oscar Piastri was an obvious choice for the team. The young talent has an incredible record and the team has also invested a lot in him.
On 2nd August Alpine F1 made a press release claiming that Oscar Piastri was ‘promoted’ to F1 and will race alongside Esteban Ocon from the 2023 season.
However, the press release looked suspicious the moment it was released. Unlike all such releases, there was no quote or statement from the signing driver.
And within two hours came the breaking. Oscar Piastri completely disagreed with the press release. The Australian said in a tweet:
“I understand that, without my agreement, Alpine F1 have put out a press release late this afternoon that I am driving for them next year. This is wrong and I have not signed a contract with Alpine for 2023. I will not be driving for Alpine next year.”
It was a huge breaking news. It was clear that more teams were after Oscar Piastri.
The driver market completely exploded and the ‘silly’ season was now going to get more interesting.
How did things go so wrong?
Piastri has been a reserve driver for Alpine for more than a year now. He has completed more than 3500 km of testing in the Alpine F1 car.
Alpine F1 is considering this as a ‘significant’ amount of investment and wants a return. Team principle Otmar Szafnauer had also made clear that the Australian would be the first choice for replacement after Alonso.
However, Szafnauer also made it clear that Piastri’s management,
“are considering other options whatever they are”.
This is a confusing statement and is being linked to the McLaren team.
We will get to that later.
But the main question is how things got so much out of hand that, Piastri’s management can not only consider another team but can also sign a deal that will outweigh any Alpine option.
Had Alonso not moved out of Alpine, Williams was the other option Alpine was considering to loan out Piastri for the 2023 season. Make sure that he gets an F1 seat. Alpine had that many rights according to the contract.
However, it is believed that the contract also stated that Alpine F1 had to ensure that Piastri gets a seat before a set date, or else an element of free agency could come in to decide the Australian’s future. So the question is had that date passed?
Was Oscar Piastri free to consider elsewhere and even book a pre-contract with another team? Well, this can only be known by Alpine and Oscar’s management and the one who interpreted the contract.
Alpine F1′ aggressiveness and humiliation
Why did Alpine go full out announcing such a big news without even considering the driver? Why would a professional team do such an act that would just cause embarrassment to the team? Only team bosses can answer that but we can definitely make our little assumptions.
It seems after losing Alonso, Alpine F1 was afraid of losing a young talented driver who would replace him. Alpine wasn’t able to contact Piastri managed properly and the communication between the two was poor.
Mark Webber, who is a mentor of Oscar Piastri and also part of his management team, wasn’t returning emails. This increased uncertainty about Piastri’s future with the team.
So, alpine took a rather aggressive approach and announced him as the replacement of Alonso anyways.
However, the aggressiveness was responded to with an equally aggressive approach as Piastri completely rejected the claims.
For a young driver like Piastri who has not even made an FP1 appearance yet, there must be some good guidance behind the Australian for him to go so much aggressive and even deny his ‘employer’.
Because if Oscar loses this fight the repercussions would be huge.
He could go from two teams chasing him to none offering even a seat.
For now, though, the situation looks highly troublesome for Alpine.
McLaren angle and Ricciardo stuck between all the troubles?
As we said earlier, it is been linked that Piastri is moving to McLaren. However, this move is dragging an unwilling person amidst all this drama.
Daniel Ricciardo still has a contract till the end of the 2023 season. This means Oscar Piastri can’t drive for McLaren, right? Well, that’s not the case but we think not the full picture.
Well, looking at the way things are going, it seems there is definitely some sort of linkage between the McLaren team and Oscar Piastri.
It must be something solid for Piastri to brutally deny his employer like that. This means there must be something very firm in place for the Australian to do so. But what it is?
According to the current contract, it’s Ricciardo’s call to move away from the team. However, the Australian has assured that he won’t give up and will make a comeback.
But, this was earlier in the season.
Now, if Piastri is really coming to McLaren there can only be two options:
The first is that Ricciardo is already in talks with McLaren team about leaving the team after 2022.
Or the second and more harsh option, the team is working behind closed doors to pursue Ricciardo to leave and announce Piastri as his successor.
Whatever the case might be, it certainly doesn’t seem that good for the future of Ricciardo.
Nevertheless, McLaren seems to be a silent and ‘unwilling’ player of the ‘silly season’ impishness but definitely is a participant nevertheless.
Regardless of all the wild theories about where Piastri would be going, he would have nowhere but Alpine unless McLaren gets him a seat and for that to happen, McLaren must assure that Daniel Ricciardo is moving out.
So, who do you think is in right regarding the contract and legalities?
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