The decision of the Formula One authorities over the Alpine/Piastri debacle is just now in. McLaren have been given the green light by the contract recognition board for 2023. Alpine had announced Piastri as their replacement for Fernando Alonso who is leaving as a free agent to join Aston Martin in 2023. However, the young Australian tweeted 90 minutes after the Alpine statement he would not be with the French outfit next season.
The issue was subject to adjudication given Alpine’s claims of having spent $10m on Piastri’s academy training and the right to field him as a driver for the French F1 team.
McLaren team boss claims their contract with the Alpine academy driver Oscar Piastri was signed on July 4th. Further, that Rocciardo was informed of this and kept his counsel until the team was ready to announce his replacement.
Piastri immediately informed the media, ”I’m extremely excited to be making my F1 debut with such a prestigious team as McLaren and I’m very grateful for the opportunity that’s been offered to me.”
“The team has a long tradition of giving young talent a chance, and I’m looking forward to working hard alongside Lando to push the team towards the front of the grid.”
Alpine have stated they now “consider the matter closed” and will announce their driver 2023 driver pairing for 2023.
Alpine’s original plan was to retain Fernando Alonso for one more year and place Piastri with the Williams F1 team. However, with the chance to race with McLaren who are in a fight with Alpine for P4 in the constructors’ championship, the young Australian clearly felt his future was better served with McLaren – not Williams.
However, he will line up as team mate with Lando Norris who has now been with McLaren for 4 years. The McLaren car is not the easiest to drive as testified by Carlos Sainz when he left for Ferrari.
Despite winning 7 races in his career, Daniel Ricciardo has never been able to get to grips with the car.
The question is whether Piastri is best served starting his F1 career alongside Lando Norris who is without an F1 win. If Lando again proves to be McLaren’s major scorer of points in 2023 with Piastri playing a bit part, his stellar junior career record may quickly fade into history.
Media rumours this week suggest Alpine will now attempt to prise Pierre Gasley from his contract with Alpha Tauri for partner Esteban Ocon in an all French driver lineup. Ocon and Gasley have not always enjoyed the best of relationships and so a return for Daniel Ricciardo to Alpine is still a possibility.