The all new FIA under new president Mohamed Ben Sulayment are not having a good year. Bowing to pressure from Mercedes they sacked their Formula One race director Michael Massi to replace him two individuals who rotate the duties. F1 driver have criticised the FIA for a lack of consistency in decisions made by the differing heads of race control and called for full time professional F1 race stewards rather than the current grandees of the FIA many of whom have never even competed in motorsport.
Following the Alpine announcement yesterday that Oscar Piastri would be joining the team there was silence from the Renault academy driver for a while, until Piastri tweeted “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,” said Piastri.
“I will not be driving for Alpine next year,” he concluded.
It is widely believed that Piastri has turned down a top team like Alpine because he already has a contract elsewhere with another top team, likely at McLaren.
Just last month stateside, Chip Ganassi Racing tweeted that the 2021 IndyCar champion Alex Palou would be retained only for Palou to immediately dispute this. He said he had in fact signed a contract with Zak Brown’s McLaren.
Ganassi are suing their driver for breach of contract and he in turn is suing them right back for posting a fake comment he allegedly made accepting their contract extension.
So it could be McLaren have mirror driver contractual disputes running on both sides of the pond.
Si Piastri a signé chez McLaren alors qu’il avait un pré-contrat avec Alpine, rappelons-nous que cette même équipe McLaren a annoncé en Indycar l’engagement d’Alex Palou, alors que l’écurie Chip Ganassi dit avoir déjà un contrat avec lui pour 2023.
— Laurent Dupin (@LaurentDupin_f1) August 2, 2022
Laurent Dupin who is an F1 reporter with French station CanalPlus decided to have a dig at Zak Brown and McLaren for signing drivers in contract with other teams.
Broadly translated his tweet says,
“Has Piastri signed with McLaren when he had a pre-contract with Alpine? Let’s remember that this same McLaren team announced the commitment of Alex Palou in Indycar, while the Chip Ganassi team says it already has a contract. with him for 2023.”
The FIA who are supposed to be the neutral governing body of F1 then reweeted Dupin’s jibe at Zak Brown and the McLaren team.
The tweet was hastily deleted.
Whilst the similarities are surprisingly similar between McLaren a new driver and their old team, the FIA has no place mocking it’s competitors and has again embarrassed itself with a blunder.
The funny side of this ‘coincidence’ for McLaren was not lost on social media commentators. One posted, “If your a racing team boss and you see Zak Brown talking to one of your drivers – GET AN INJUNCTION!”
As with Palou and Ganassi, Piastri and Alpine, any legal dispute does not in fact involve McLaren. It is the drivers who may or may have not breached contracts with their current teams.
Presumably the lawyers will sort it out in Europe as they are currently trying to in the USA.