(Motorsport-Total.com) — The so-called Contract Recognition Board (CRB) met on Monday, which decides whether Oscar Piastre should drive to Alpine or McLaren Formula 1 in 2023. CRB’s attorneys have three days after the hearing for their deliberations. This means that the decision should actually be made by Thursday at the latest.
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Christian Horner questions the events surrounding Oscar Piestre and the Alps
Before leaving the F1 circus for spa, Alpine team boss Otmar Szafnauer was still “very” optimistic that the CRB would decide in his favour: “I know both sides of the argument. We are very confident that Oscar signed us last November.”
Szafnauer knows that there are “certain things” that must be in such a contract for it to be valid. “I am sure they will be there,” he asserts.
Unlike Alpine, McLaren has not publicly commented on “Piastrigate” beforehand. Team boss Andreas Seidl has not outright confirmed talks with the young Australian, who is managed by Mark Webber, at Spa.
Do the Alps still want Biastr?
The fact that ‘Piastrigate’ about a possible change from Alpine to McLaren is a widespread assumption in the Formula 1 circuit and aligns with information that Motorsport-Total.com has researched about the summer break.
The question many ask themselves: If Piastre switches to McLaren and no longer wants to drive to Alpine, does it make sense from Albin’s point of view to insist on the contract? Wouldn’t this relationship be too strained to have a realistic chance of success?
Szafnauer disagrees, “Going to the CRB,” is the logical step if you think you have a valid contract with a driver signed elsewhere. This has happened in the past too, and I once went through a situation like this. “
Szafnauer points to the summer of 2004, when Jenson Button first announced his move to Williams, but the CRB decided he should stay with BAR-Honda. Szafnauer then served as Honda’s Vice President of Racing and a member of the team’s board of directors.
“Jenson really wanted to go to Williams, but Bar-Honda won before the CRB,” he recalls. “Then we had a good relationship with Jenson, who eventually led to the world title. It was a year after Honda left, but it was basically the same team.”
Is it really just about money?
Insiders suspect Alpine might not insist on hooking up Piastri itself if Webber’s stepson really wants to join McLaren. However, if you win before the CRB, you can at least claim monetary compensation. But this is just speculation until today.
Szafnauer is reluctant to talk about the details of Alpine’s contract with Piastri. After all, he reveals, Alpine didn’t seem to have made any choice for 2023 by July 31. He claims that such reports are “pure fiction”.
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‘Motorsport-Total.com’ stated in its August 2 column: “There are some indications that the deadline for Alpine to exercise the option on the 2023 Piastri has expired on July 31.”
Meanwhile, information is accumulating that the 31st of July does not play such a decisive role in “Piastrigate” as it was initially assumed.
Additionally, Szafnauer reveals: “The contract he signed runs until 2024, with an option at the end of 2023. I can say that. There is a lot. But to be honest, I don’t want to go into details.”
Criticisms of Siefnauer: This is what Christian Horner says!
Just be it: Szafnauer isn’t doing well at the moment – most industry watchers agree on this. “It shouldn’t happen. I don’t know the contracts. But the fact that Oscar has any reason to believe he won’t have to drive to the Alps shows next year something is wrong,” Red Bull boss Christian Horner said in an interview with Sky.
No matter how the CRB decides, Szafnauer will be one more richer experience: “We can definitely learn something from this. We’ll look back and analyze what could be done better and incorporate that into our contracts in the future,” he says.