Formula One

Alpine vows to close ‘loopholes’ that caused Piastri saga


Alpine team boss Otmar Szafnauer says the French outfit has taken away a few good lessons from its failed dealings last summer with Oscar Piastri and vows to close the loopholes that caused its issues with its former junior driver.

Last year, Piastri switched his allegiance for 2023 from Alpine to McLaren, a move that was contested by the Enstone squad.

Alpine genuinely believed that it had a valid contract to keep the young gun within its ranks, especially as Piastri was promoted to a race seat with the team for 2023 following Fernando Alonso’s decision to depart the French outfit.

However, team and driver ended up with their case being arbitraged by the FIA’s Contract Recognition Board which sided with Piastri, whose contract with McLaren was deemed as valid.

For Alpine, Piastri’s behaviour and utter lack of loyalty and integrity – as portrayed by the team – was a bitter pill to swallow.

“He grew up in this team,” commented at the time Alpine boss Laurent Rossi. “He knows everyone in our team. We’ve shown our commitment to him. Shouldn’t he be a bit grateful for that?

“Oscar would do well to be fast and deliver results next year. But even if he becomes the new Michael Schumacher, this story will stick with him forever.”

On the eve of Piastri’s maiden season in Formula 1, with McLaren, the disenchantment in the Alpine camp appears to have hardly subsided.

“Species that cooperate survive. Species that are selfish become extinct,” Szafnauer told Germany’s Motorsport-Total.

However, for the Alpine boss, a lesson learned the hard way is a lesson learned for a lifetime.

“In the future, we will treasure these lessons and make sure that we eliminate the loopholes that allowed Oscar to get out of the contract we thought we had with him,” added the American.

“What happened in the summer was not what we had planned in December 2021.

“We can say that we should have done things differently so that the plan to promote Oscar would actually have been realised.”

Alpine’s 2023 line-up will consist of incumbent Esteban Ocon and former AlphaTauri charger Pierre Gasly. The team is scheduled to unveil its 2023 A523 contender on February 16.

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Alpine vows to close ‘loopholes’ that caused Piastri saga

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