The Alpine and McLaren teams, which both believe they have a valid contract with Australian driver Oscar Piastri, will be heard by the Formula 1 Contract Recognition Bureau (CRB) on Monday, the Alpine team principal said on Saturday.
It’s the soap opera of the summer in F1: after Fernando Alonso’s surprise departure for Aston Martin in early August, Alpine announced that its reserve driver Oscar Piastri would be his replacement in 2023. But the 21-year-old Australian hopeful was quick to deny: “I have not signed a contract with Alpine for 2023. I will not be a driver for Alpine next year« .
If the young driver, champion in Formula 3 (2020) and Formula 2 (2021), has turned away from the team that trained him, it is because he has reached an agreement with McLaren – which awaits resolution of the case before formalizing it. Alpine, who believes that Piastri does have a contract for 2023, has therefore turned to the Contract Recognition Board (CRB), an arbitration body competent in the matter.
« We will ask the CRB to decide which contract signed by Oscar takes prioritysaid Alpine’s Otmar Szafnauer at a press conference on the sidelines of the Belgian Grand Prix. « I’m very confident, I’ve seen both pitches and we’re confident that Oscar signed with us in November. There are certain things that need to be in the contract and I’m sure they are.“, he developed.
No call possible
If the CRB decides that McLaren’s contract has priority, then Piastri will be free to sign for the British team, which will part ways with driver Daniel Ricciardo at the end of the season. If it is Alpine who is in his right, could the French team force the pilot to stay? It is more likely in this case that Alpine will find a financial middle ground with McLaren.
The leader claims that Piastri’s contract would run « until 2024, with an option at the end of 2023« . Also present at this press conference, his McLaren counterpart Andreas Seidl preferred not to “talk about names of pilots or scenarios« .
« It’s something we’ll be tackling starting next week, then we’ll announce our plans.“, he continued. The CRB is a body provided for by the “Concorde chordsbetween the teams, the owners of the commercial rights (FOM) and the FIA. It was created in 1991 following the signing of Michael Schumacher at Benetton, when he had discussed with the Jordan team.
Four lawyers specializing in international sports law will meet Monday in Geneva (Switzerland) to hear the two parties, explained a source familiar with the matter to AFP. The CRB, an arbitration structure, independent of the FIA, must then inform the stakeholders within three days of its decision. No appeal will be possible.