Alpine to evaluate early release of Piastri F1 next week

Alpine to evaluate early release of Piastri F1 next week

Alpine to evaluate early release of Piastri F1 next week

In the wake of the Contract Recognition Board’s decision that Alpine has no claims against the Australian for next year, it has been confirmed that he will move to McLaren in 2023.

For now, Piastri remains Alpine’s official reserve driver – and he will continue to work with the Enstone squad in his simulator this weekend.

But with his future elsewhere and he joining one of Alpine’s main rivals, there’s little to gain from the squad that keeps him on board and learning about the team’s technical progress.

One option is simply to end the tires now, which could even allow Piastri to become a full free agent so he could start working with McLaren early.

Asked about the situation, Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer said: “He is with us this weekend doing simulator work and he will continue this weekend.

“There are only a few days left, today and tomorrow. And then on Monday we will meet with him and decide how to proceed.”

‘We will decide on Monday. We then decide. I don’t want to think about this. Because there are more considerations.”

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Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal, Alpine F1, Pat Fry

Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal, Alpine F1, Pat Fry

Photo By: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Images

While Szafnauer was certain that Alpine had rights to Piastri before the CRB hearing, he said his position changed slightly when he heard McLaren’s testimony.

“When I went into it, I didn’t know all the arguments on the other side,” he said. “I mean, it took four days, as everyone knows: there were good arguments on both sides.

“When I walked out I thought it was about 50/50. You know, it turns out they didn’t decide in our favor. So I would have accepted anyway.”

‘Bizarre’ sim moment

One of the most controversial aspects of the Piastri affair was Alpine’s decision to announce him as a driver in 2023, despite making it clear to the team that he would not race for it.

When asked why, after Piastri’s management team was told that he planned to race elsewhere, the team went ahead with the announcement, Szafnauer said: “Well, at that point we have talks with Oscar and were under the impression that the contractual arrangements we had with Oscar were valid, and that we were not [need for] the CRB. So that’s the reason.”

Szafnauer revealed last weekend that Piastri was told the announcement went out while he was working in the team’s simulator.

That moment has been described by Piastri himself as “bizarre” and “disturbing” because it put him in an awkward position in front of other team members.

Pushed to clarify what exactly happened, Szafnauer said: “What I can say and repeat what I said before: Oscar was in the simulator. When he finished his simulator session. I went and told him about the release and him He smiled and said thank you.

“Was there a group of people there? I can tell you no, it was myself and the simulator engineer who happened to be in the same room.

“But if you’ve ever seen a simulator, it’s a pretty big room: as big as here [in the Zandvoort press conference room]. There were three of us in that room. So it wasn’t a group of people. It wasn’t outlandish and he smiled and said thank you.”

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