With Fernando Alonso leaving for Aston Martin, Alpine wanted to make Oscar Piastri their replacement. However, the Australian has finally signed up with the McLaren Formula 1 team and will drive alongside Lando Norris next F1 season. Laurent Rossi, the boss of Alpine, gave his opinion on the subject, ripping into Oscar Piastri claiming significant investment was made for the Australian ready for him to race at Williams.
Following the departure of Fernando Alonso, made official by Aston Martin as Sebastian Vettel’s successor, Alpine had announced on social media that Oscar Piastri would take the free seat next season.
Except that the Australian, who already had an agreement with McLaren, quickly denied the information. From there, a long legal procedure was started to know if the contract that Oscar Piastri had with the British team was valid or not. Finally, the FIA Contract Recognition Board (CRB) ruled in favour of McLaren.
Alpine, therefore, finds itself without a second driver to support Esteban Ocon for the time being. And several days after the end of this drama, Laurent Rossi finally came out of his silence.
First of all, the Alpine boss wanted to clarify the situation of Fernando Alonso in a statement:
“We wanted Fernando to continue with us as an endurance driver and/or in the Dakar. We talked about this at length last year. Why did we only offer him two years? We only had a two-year option with Oscar,
“Fernando had the desire to drive longer in F1, which we couldn’t do, or we would have lost Oscar. It didn’t make sense for us. More than likely, we couldn’t follow the other conditions that were offered (by Aston Martin) either.”
Then he turned to the case of Oscar Piastri. “For Oscar, it wasn’t planned,” explained Laurent Rossi before continuing.
“Frankly, it’s disappointing. We kept our commitment to Oscar very quickly, because we exercised our option on 15 November, with a contractual document that bound us and placed him as a reserve,
“With that he was to receive an extensive training programme, including 5,000km of F1 driving throughout the year, and we were going to find him a seat for 2023 and 2024. That’s exactly what we did,
“We announced him as a reserve driver the next day. We very quickly came up with a training programme and a 5,000km test programme, which started in February alongside Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon, it was a serious training programme,
“You drive alongside two F1 drivers, you learn from them. […] Not only was he a reserve, but he would have been the most trained rookie of all time. He knew how the team worked, how an F1 driver is supposed to work in the team,
“We feel like we delivered and went beyond that. We hired a person just to find him a place [in another team], because we wanted to do it properly. At the end of April we found him a place at Williams.”
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Just as a deal was about to be struck between Alpine and Williams, the Piastri clan revealed they had an opportunity with McLaren.
“When the Williams opportunity was about to turn into a concrete deal, so much so that the moulding of the seats was planned, Piastri’s management team told us: ‘we have a possible opportunity at McLaren’. That was a bit disappointing,
“We thought it was a bit strange, because we expected a bit more loyalty given everything we had invested. He didn’t say he was going, he said he had an opportunity,” said Laurent Rossi.
In the end, Oscar Piastri will drive alongside Lando Norris next season. Alpine, for its part, is still looking for Fernando Alonso’s successor.
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but you had no contract with him and no seat in F1 for next year and you had no idea that Fernando was going, not a very good starting point for any business not knowing the basics
If only there were bits of paper you could sign so that you have agreements in place. He fulfilled everything you asked in the contract, training a worker does entitle you to their services unless you have a contract that says it does. It’s all well and good to yip about a williams opportunity but you needed to get the deal not wait and see what was best for you
We’ve heard all this 100 times already..you had no contract. Get over it and move on. Find yourself another driver