The FIA’s Contract Recognition Board (CRB) will meet on Monday to review the dispute between Alpine and McLaren over Oscar Piastri’s contract.
Alpine named Piastri as a race driver for 2023 after Fernando Alonso’s decision to join Aston Martin, but the Australian had already signed a deal with McLaren with the intention of replacing Daniel Ricciardo. When McLaren submitted its contract with the CRB it believed there was no conflict, but Alpine then provided documents that requires a hearing to identify which agreement takes priority.
That hearing will take place on Monday, and will either result in Piastri being confirmed as free to join McLaren or still tied to Alpine. The latter case will then require negotiations between the two teams over his future.
“He’s a promising young driver, hasn’t driven in Formula 1 yet,” Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer told Sky Sports. “My wish for Oscar was he had a bit more integrity. He signed a bit of paper as well back in November and we’ve done everything on our end of the bargain to prepare him for Formula 1, and his end of the bargain was to either drive for us or take a seat where we would place him for the next three years. I just wish Oscar would have remembered what he signed in November, what he signed up to.”
However, Szafnauer admits he’s likely to be left looking for a different replacement for Alonso, and suggests Ricciardo would be a popular selection within the team.
“Fernando is a two-time world champion, still driving at a high level,” he said. “Hopefully that will last not too much longer because he’s leaving! It doesn’t last forever. We’ve got to look forward now and fill the open seat with the best driver.
“I think the right thing for us is to go to the CRB on Monday and see how that pans out and then start looking at some negotiations in earnest.
“The team speaks very highly of Daniel and his time here. We haven’t had those strategic discussions yet but everybody that I ask, the engineering team, they really speak highly of his skill as a driver and a team motivator.”