Alpine reveal there was no July deadline in Oscar Piastri’s contract

·3-min read
Otmar Szafnauer and Andreas Seild in a press conference. Monaco May 2022 Credit: PA Images
Otmar Szafnauer and Andreas Seild in a press conference. Monaco May 2022 Credit: PA Images

The Oscar Piastri contract saga took an interesting turn on Saturday with Otmar Szafnauer revealing there was no July 31st deadline as has been speculated.

Added to that, Alpine informed Piastri that they would be putting him in the race seat before releasing the statement to the media.

The statement that the reigning Formula 2 champion ultimately denied was true.

Alpine expect to come out on top in Monday’s Contract Recognition Board hearing.


Formula 1 threw up a tasty team boss press conference on Saturday morning at the Belgian Grand Prix, teaming up Szafnauer with McLaren’s Andreas Seidl and Aston Martin’s Mike Krack.

The trio are all involved in the biggest surprises of this year’s silly season as Aston Martin shocked the paddock by announcing Alpine’s Fernando Alonso as Sebastian Vettel’s 2023 replacement.

A day later Alpine announced their reserve driver Piastri would take the Spaniard’s seat only for Piastri to publicly reject that.

He put out a statement on Twitter saying that “without my agreement, Alpine F1 have put out a press release late this afternoon that I am driving for them next year. This is wrong and I have not signed a contract with Alpine for 2023.

“I will not be driving for Alpine next year.”

Instead he’s expected to be with McLaren. Although the team has not confirmed that, they announced on Wednesday that Daniel Ricciardo would be leaving at the end of this season, paving the way for Piastri to partner Lando Norris.

His future will be decided by F1’s Contract Recognition Board which will meet on Monday.

Szafnauer is confident the hearing will go in Alpine’s favour.

“Very,” he said at Spa. “I’ve seen both sides of the argument and we’re confident that Oscar signed with us in November.

“There are certain things that need to be in the contract and I’m confident they’re in there.”

However, there is speculation that Alpine missed the deadline to exercise their option on Piastri, that said to be midnight on 31st July.

Oscar Piastri, Alpine, smiles. United States, May 2022. Credit: PA Images
Oscar Piastri, Alpine, smiles. United States, May 2022. Credit: PA Images

Szafnauer denied this.

“There was no deadline in Piastri’s contract. It is a contract until the end of 2023 with an option for 2024. He signed a contract with us in November.”

He also revealed that Alpine had informed the driver of their decision before announcing it to the media. He was even in the team’s simulator in Enstone.

“We informed Piastri of it before we put out the statement,” said the team boss. “He was in the simulator, so I went and found him and told him. He smiled and was thankful.”

The team is continuing to work with Piastri, who for now remains their reserve driver.

“He’s driving our simulator, helping with car set-up and we continue to prepare Oscar in no different manner to how we have in the past,” he said. “The relationship hasn’t wavered and we continue.”

As for who Alpine will put in the car next season should they lose Piastri, Szafnauer said: “We will have the CRB decide which contract Oscar signed takes precedence and after that we will see where we go.

“Once we have all the info in front of us we will start looking at who will fill the open seat.”

 

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