After a month of public accusations and private legal battles, Oscar Piastre’s future is one step closer to being decided today.
On Monday, the FIA’s contract recognition board will meet to decide whether Alpine or McLaren have the first DV on the rising Aussie star for 2023. By doing this, it will play a major role in the growth of the driver market in 2023.
Piastre was at the center of one of Formula 1’s dumbest seasons in recent memory.
Watch every practice, qualifying and race of the 2022 FIA Formula One World Championship™ live on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >
To sum it up: Oscar Piastieri and his Mark Webber-led management team negotiated the McLaren orbit when it became clear that Alpine would keep Fernando Alonso until 2023 and loan the young Aussie to Williams indefinitely.
However, when Alonso suddenly switched to Aston Martin, Alpine reached out to Piastri to promote him, only to find the management team unresponsive in a tweet from the young Australian, who had spent the junior divisions denying he had any contractual obligations.
McLaren subsequently agreed to sack Daniel Ricciardo and make way for his compatriot, but Alpine insisted he called his services first.
Millions of dollars and countless man-hours spent on Piastri’s development has frustrated the French team, who feel a lot of work has been done, and team boss Ottmar Schaffnauer isn’t afraid to express his feelings.
“I expected more loyalty from Oscar,” the Alpine group principal told the Spanish publication. The secret At the beginning of the month. “It’s not about Formula 1, it’s about honesty as a person.”
He made his second start at the weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix and told Sky Sports Piastrie wished he had “a bit more credibility”.
“I wish Oscar would remember what he signed in November, what he signed,” he said.
But honesty and integrity are not enough to enforce a contract.
What is a Contract Accreditation Board?
The lesser-known body that will decide Piastri’s next step is the FIA, a body set up to resolve Formula 1 contractual disputes.
In the year It was created after Michael Schumacher defected to Benetton after a Belgian Grand Prix with Jordan in 1991.
The German star was able to move from Jordan’s hands due to the wording in the contract – which means signing.A Contract “instead of “of Contract” – but Benetton Roberto Moreno is already registered in the second seat.
Moreno sought an injunction against his team to prevent Schumacher from catching him, but eventually agreed to get paid.
The legal dispute has convinced the FIA to set up a contract recognition board to avoid such ugly collisions in the future.
Teams lodge all drivers’ contracts with the board as a matter of course – if they don’t submit their contracts to the CRB, drivers’ senior licenses are invalid – meaning in theory any conflict of interest should be flagged immediately.
All groups agreed to abide by the CRB’s rulings, thereby waiving legal action over dissent.
He was occasionally called into action, but most notably when Jenson Button signed for Williams in 2005, when the current Bar team had to use his option that same season.
The CRB ruled in favor of Barr, and Button was forced to stay.
Earlier, in 1994, David Coulthard’s attempted move from Williams to McLaren was canceled by the CRB, forcing him to stay at Grove for 1995.
The board’s findings can be officially announced in the middle of the week.
Alpin lays out his argument.
There has been much speculation as to how Alpine managed to go from so many riders to so few in less than 48 hours, never mind that the two riders it lost were two stars.
Reports range from Alpine missing out on various contract deals, with the team struggling to sign the Aussie with nowhere to go.
But speaking to the media at the Belgian Grand Prix, Schaffnauer denied his team was complacent about Piaster’s hiring.
I rarely like to talk about the details of driver contracts, but I can say two things: One, it wasn’t, ‘You have to do certain things by July 31 or you can walk out.’ That’s nothing,” he said.
“The 31st July deadline is a novel I always read. It’s not in the contract he signed.
“The contract period is until 2024 with an option at the end of 23.
In November, both sides agreed on the way forward until the 24th, but as I said, to take an option through the group and the 23rd.
“We definitely cut the deal.”
Asked if he was confident his understanding of Piastria’s contract situation would survive Monday’s hearing, Szafnauer was unequivocal.
“so true [confident],” he said. “I’ve seen both sides of the argument and we’re confident that Oscar will sign with us in November.
“There are some things that should be in the contract and I’m sure they’re in there.”
Maclar keeps his head down
McLaren was careful not to tempt fate by speaking publicly about the spat, so much so that he refused to even confirm his contact with the Piastre camp, never mind open the contract that was taken to the CRB for arbitration.
“Unfortunately, I don’t want to touch any name or situation, because it only makes headlines, and we are determined to go with Daniel, and we have respect for him,” said team boss Andrea Seid.
“As for the future, that’s something we’ll focus on from next week.”
McLaren appears to have learned from its failure in IndyCar, where it has been embroiled in a similar tussle with Chip Ganassi Racing over the services of reigning champion Alex Palu.
In the year On July 12, CGR released a press release confirming that Palo will continue with the team in 2023 after agreeing to extend his contract.
However, Palu soon tweeted that he had not agreed to any contract extension and accused the team of fabricating comments made against him in the press conference.
That day, McLaren issued its own press release announcing that Palou would switch IndyCar teams for 2023 in a deal that included an F1 evaluation program enjoyed by Colton Herta and Pato O’Ward.
Later that month, CGR confirmed it was suing the driver for breach of contract.
By refusing to get involved in the dispute, McLaren will at least keep its hands relatively clean in the mess and avoid incriminating itself over any of the terms of the Piastri Alpine contract.
This means that in the worst-case scenario that Piastri can’t race for him in 2023, McLaren can hire someone else without having to appear to walk away from the deal.
Contracts in the spotlight
Regardless of the CRB’s outcome, Alpine’s contract management is a major question.
He has been accused of misreading the driver market and Fernando Alonso, which led to the Spaniard’s sudden switch to Aston Martin, while dropping the ball on the young driver is said to be the team’s future.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Christian Horner expressed the Paddock’s surprise at the situation.
“I don’t fully understand, because contractually this should never happen,” he said.
I think if Renault and Alpine have invested in his young career, they have invested in his youth because they have invested in his future and there has to be an element of loyalty in that.
“I don’t clearly understand what’s going on there, but it shows that there’s something unclear about him being in a position to think he shouldn’t be driving to Alpine next year.”
Alpine was accused of doing nothing wrong. Alonso insists he has no grudges about leaving as he is a free agent, and Piastre seems to be suggesting he is simply breaching his contract and acting dishonestly.
That said, Szafnauer said he remains open to any decision the contract recognition board makes about how the team executed the contract.
I’m sure there’s something you’ve learned, something you’ll regret in any situation. “After two years we have to look back and see what really happened.
“There are definitely lessons to be learned, so we’ll have good hindsight, and like anything, we’ll analyze, and if there’s a few things we can do better, I’m sure we’ll incorporate those into our future relationship.”
What happens next?
There are two decisions the CRB can make on Monday – for Alpine or for McLaren – but there is really only one outcome: Piastri will not drive for Alpine.
In the year It’s hard to imagine the Australian driving for the French team in 2023 after the public exchanges of the last three weeks.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, when asked about the situation of the stupid season, said that the legality of the move was unclear, but that Piastri’s side of the relationship was responsible for exacerbating the issue.
“I think it’s important that junior programs are respected,” he said. “I think some kids should be careful what they say about international organizations on Twitter. But I have no idea about the contracts.
“I believe in karma, I believe in sincerity. But I’m not here to judge because, as I said, I don’t know the legal situation.”
And yet Szafnauer, when asked if Piastri is a real possibility to wear blue next year, tried to suggest that the door would be open for the Australian.
“On Oscar’s part, really the only disappointment is that he signed something with us in November,” he said. “We delivered everything that was supposed to – apart from that; over-delivered – and his promise to us was to compete with us if we put him in our car, so that’s what we’re looking at.”
“This has happened before,” Button added, referring to Williams’ aborted move. “Bar Honda won the CRB and then had a good relationship with Jensen and ended up in the World Championship.”
But instead, if Alpine turns out to be on the right side, it looks like it will pursue compensation from McLaren to let go of Piastri, which would at least save face for the team, ending a strained relationship.
This in turn opens up the driver market even more with more speculation as to which direction Alpine will take.
“I think we’re going to CRB on Monday,” Szafnauer said. “I don’t know when they’re going to buy it, it’s going to be after that, and then once we have all the information in front of us, we’ll start looking at who’s going to fill the open seat.
The CRB’s decision will be final, but it certainly won’t end this silly season.