Oscar Piastri won the 2021 F2 drivers’ title and was expected to be immediately promoted by Alpine to F1. Chinese driver and fellow Alpine academy recruit of Pistri, Zhou Guanyu, was found a seat at Alfa Romeo. Piastri smashed the 2021 F2 title while Zhou was arguably an also ran which clearly created resentment in the young Australian driver towards his French mentors.
Alpine planned to place Piastri this year with Williams whilst extending Fernando Alonso’s contract for just one more year. Alonso wanted two years and Piastri believed he deserved more than a run out with F1’s perennial back of the grid team.
The management at Alpine tried to be too clever by half refusing to give either of their key drivers what they wanted. Fernando decided to leave for Aston Martin where he has a two year contract with an option to extend to 3 years and Oscar Pistri has signed for McLaren to drive in F1 in 2023.
Piastri has come under some criticism from F1 aficionado’s who claim his loyalty to Alpine is questionable.
“There should be some loyalty to the fact that we have invested literally millions and millions of euros to prepare him. So I don’t understand it either, you should ask him,” claimed Alpine’s team boss Otmar Szafnauer.
Yet TJ13’s opinion is that Alpine messed their young driver about.
Piastri won F2 in 2021 and yet it was an also ran in Zhou that makes it to F1 from Alpine’s academy. Further, the best Oscar could hope for in 2023 was a drive for Williams who show little hope of being anything other than the 10th best F1 team from 10.
Yesterday, F1’s contract recognition board began to hear the case from Alpine that claims Piastri is contracted to them until the end of 2024. However, the white smoke on the committees decision has not yet been spotted.
In the mean time another of Piastri’s peers has commented on the dispute claiming Alpine have been “playing” with both Oscar and Fernando Alonso. F3 driver, Juan Manuel Correa, who shares the same physio as Oscar Piastri, blames Alpine for the ongoing contract dispute.
“The thing is my physio this year is actually Oscar’s full-time physio,” Correa revealed. “So, I know quite a bit about it [Piastri/Alpine dispute].”
“From my perspective and what is public knowledge, I think it is actually more of Alpine’s fault. They were playing a little bit with Oscar and Fernando. They didn’t give Oscar I think what they had promised, and any driver in his position would have done what he did. That’s what I think, from what I know.”
McLaren F1 have sacked Daniel Ricciardo and it is believed Oscar Piastri is signed to drive for them in 2023 though team boss Andreas Siedl was tight lipped over the issue when asked at last weekends Belgium GP.
Following Fernando Alonso’s announcement he was leaving Alpine because they wouldn’t give him a two year contract, the French F1 team’s management announced Piastri would replace the Spaniard in 2023. Within two hours the young Australian denounced this stating he would not be driving for Alpine in 2023.
TJ13 has been persistently claiming Oscar Piastri will drive for McLaren in 2023 and it appears his friend Juan Manuel Correa agrees.
“I think the [contract] hearing was this morning, but I think he will be racing at McLaren next year
“And I hope so for him because he deserves an F1 seat. It was already a shame that he didn’t get a seat immediately last year. So, at least now he will get his chance.”
Alpine dithered and tried to play Alonso and Piastri off against each other offering neither what they wanted and this is the reason they find themselves in the current predicament.
If justice is to be served, F1’s contract recognition board will adjudicate that Piastri is free to leave Alpine despite their claims to have spent $10m on his development. Alpine should have promoted Piastri for the 2022 season rather than the F2 also ran Chinese driver Zhou who has scored just 5 points this year.
Alpine are currently working furiously via back channels to secure the services of Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasley presumably because they know whatever the F1 contract’s board rules, Oscar Pisatri will defy them.