The silly season is truly upon as Formula One drivers and teams take to the beaches of Europe. Today Alex Albon who had been rumoured as a possible to replace Fernando Alonso at Alpine was given a contract extension by his current employer Williams F1. Of course Alpine will now have to look elsewhere following the debacle in announcing their Renault academy driver, Oscar Pastry, as Fernando’s replacement yesterday.
In a rather humiliating turn of events Piastri rebutted Alpine’s tweet with one of his own some time later.
“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.”
Following today’s signing of Albon, the British-Thai driver cheekily posted his own play on words tweet that almost mirroring Piastri’s from yesterday.
I understand that, with my agreement, Williams Racing have put out a press release this afternoon that I am driving for them next year. This is right and I have signed a contract with Williams for 2023. I will be driving for Williams next year.
— Alex Albon (@alex_albon) August 3, 2022
Alpine may not see the funny side, but Oscar Piastri did and replied adding a GIF with the caption: “Well done sir, that was very good”.
Other drivers piled in with their amusing observations. George was one typing “Love that,” alongside two laughing emojis. The Indycar winner and former Sauber and Caterham driver Marcus Ericsson joined the fray liking Albon’s post and calling him a “legend”.
Alpine insist they have a contract with Piastri and despite there being presidents where one driver has two contracts it appears the bridges may be burned too far.
Jenson Button tried to leave BAR in 2005 and rejoin his old Williams team, but BAR had a contract and Button was forced to retract. Jenson announced in August of 2004 which was a shock to the paddock he was leaving BAR for Wiliams.
Later Button admitted,
“Yes, I did make some mistakes”
“I don’t know the legal side of things so I just had to listen to what people had to say.”
The difference today is F1 driver contracts are done properly and managers who make a fortune over moving their drivers to another team know the small print.
It is highly unlikely Mark Webbers management team lawyers haven’t been through Pistri’s contract line by line and believe he was free from August 1st to leave the Alpine family.
Further there may be bad blood between Piastri and Alpine where there wan’t between Jenson and BAR.
Oscar Piastri won the 2021 F1 championship hands down, yet it was fellow Renault academy junior who came just third that was facilitated an F1 seat at Alfa Romeo.