Piastri turned down Alpine for 2023 seat, saying that he's already signed with McLaren.

special f1 board of lawyers to hear oscar piastri case
Clive MasonGetty Images

  • Alpine promoted Oscar Piastri to a race seat for 2023, but that move was rejected by the young Australian.
  • Piastri, however, is believed to have signed an agreement to race for McLaren, hence Daniel Ricciardo’s impending departure.
  • The deal has some parallels to an IndyCar deal involving McLaren.

    Formula 1’s silly season is expected to take a further step shortly with the FIA’s Contract Recognition Board scheduled to meet on Monday to assess Oscar Piastri’s case.

    It is a body that rarely meets, but when it does it includes four lawyers who will determine the legality of respective contracts. Alpine promoted Piastri to a race seat for 2023 but that move was rejected by the young Australian, who is believed to have signed an agreement to race for McLaren, hence Daniel Ricciardo’s impending departure.

    The deal has some parallels to an IndyCar deal involving McLaren. In that one, McLaren claims it has signed defending IndyCar champion Alex Palou for next year. Palou’s current team boss in IndyCar, Chip Ganassi, says Palou is under contract with Chip Ganassi Racing for 2023.

    McLaren has so far remained silent on the Piastri controversy.

    Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer outlined that “I’ve seen both sides of the argument (between Alpine and Piastri) and we’re confident that Oscar signed with us back in November. And there are certain things that need to be in the contract and I’m confident they’re in there.

    “I rarely like to talk about details of driver contracts but two things I can say: one, there was no ‘by the 31st of July you have to do some things or therefore you can get out’. It’s not in the contract that he signed and the term of the contract is through 2024 with an option at the end of ‘23. So I’ll just say those things, but there’s a lot more in it but like I said, I don’t really like to talk about specifics.”

    On who will be teaming with Esteban Ocon next season, Szafnauer simply commented: “Once we have all the information in front of us, we’ll start looking at who will fill the open seat.”

    Ricciardo has been touted as the front-runner but commented in Belgium that he wants to assess his future after the current triple-header of events in order to avoid making emotional decisions. It is understood by Autoweek that Alpine has asked about Pierre Gasly, who is already contracted to AlphaTauri for 2023.

    On-track, Alpine had a strong weekend at Spa, with Fernando Alonso finishing fifth, and Ocon charging from the back to seventh, which included two well-judged double overtaking moves. That gives Alpine a 20-point buffer over McLaren in the race for fourth in the standings. At Spa, McLaren’s Lando Norris was only 12th and Ricciardo a dismal 15th, stymied by the MCL36’s draggy nature.

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