Things are progressing behind the scenes regarding Oscar Piastri’s contracts with McLaren and Alpine F1.
And the CRB, an authority created by the FIA responsible for recognizing the validity of the agreements signed between the drivers and the teams, would have given a favorable opinion on the two contracts! In this case, the two signed agreements would be valid, which would then put the fault on the side of the pilot and his manager.
Obviously on the one hand, there is a contract of holder (at McLaren) while that of Alpine only promised a promise of tenure.
So how is this going to unravel? Probably in court for Alpine F1, which could lose Piastri (how to drive a driver who has decided to look elsewhere) but claim millions of euros in compensation from the High Court in London in exchange.
This is what team principal Otmar Szafnauer promised Reuters if the 21-year-old driver does not meet his commitments. Szafnauer says all indications from their base in Paris were that Alpine was ready for a legal battle once the August break was over.
“Going to the High Court is over 90 per cent certain that is what we will do,” he confirms.
The American admits that the opinion of the Contract Recognition Board (CRB) might not be enough.
« If the CRB says ‘your contract is only valid with Alpine’ and Piastri says ‘it’s great but I never drive for Alpine’, that he’s just going to be away for a year, then you have to go to the High Court for compensation. »
Of course, Piastri and his manager, Mark Webber, do not have the millions of euros needed to compensate Alpine F1, which has invested heavily with private tests on the A521, including one that even took place on the circuit. from the Americas to Austin. How much should they give Alpine according to Szafnauer?
« We haven’t sat down with the accountants to calculate everything we’ve spent. We’ll have to do that if we go to the High Court. »
There will also, of course, be damages to quantify and, in the end, if McLaren maintains its contract with Piastri, it could be up to Woking to settle this big bill, in addition to Daniel Ricciardo’s salary scheduled for 2023 (20 million of dollars).
The end of the summer promises to be fascinating and tense between the two teams fighting for 4th place in the constructors’ championship.