McLaren has “multiple plans” for its 2023 driver line-up as it awaits the outcome of the FIA’s Contract Recognition Board regarding Oscar Piastri.
Alpine reserve driver Piastri had already signed a deal with McLaren for next season when Fernando Alonso opted to move to Aston Martin, leading to Alpine announcing Piastri as his replacement for 2023. The young Australian insists the French constructor doesn’t have a valid contract and the CRB will decide on which team holds the rights to his services when it meets on Monday.
“We have multiple plans,” Brown told SpeedCity Broadcasting. “There is a CRB meeting which has been reported on – I think we’ll be better placed to comment on it post the meeting.
“We’ve got a variety of options and of course that’s clearly one of them or we wouldn’t be in that meeting! Let’s just see how it plays out and then we will go from there.”
While a decision from the CRB could take a number of days, Brown says he has no shortage of other candidates in mind in the case that Piastri is unable to join, pointing to the IndyCar drivers that have already tested the 2021 car for McLaren as among them.
“I tried to put myself in the seat but Andreas [Seidl, team principal] shot that down, so that’s the only driver that we’ve ruled out so far! We have our testing program, Colton Herta did an excellent job, Pato [O’Ward] was in the car at the end of last year, he did an excellent job.
“Off course, we’ve got our situation with Alex [Palou] going on in the States, we’ll see how that plays out but we certainly intend to put him in our Formula 1 car, so all those drivers have won a lot of races in a very competitive championship.
“I hold IndyCar at the very highest level of motorsport, so I think we’ve got a handful of different options and we’ll just take one day at a time.”
Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer believes a decision will not be reached on Monday, but says he too has options in mind to partner Esteban Ocon next year.
“I think the CRB will take some time to deliberate – not a lot but a couple of days – and probably by the end of the week when we get to Zandvoort we’ll know,” Szafnauer said.
“Not (started talks) this weekend but we’ve got a list, and for sure after we get the verdict we’ll start some discussions in earnest.”