Alpine F1 team principal Otmar Szafnauer says there is a ‘more than 90% chance’ of suing Oscar Piastri, who has invested in the team as a development driver, if he refuses to become the team’s F1 driver in 2023. .
After Fernando Alonso announced a shock transfer to Aston Martin F1 in 2023, the Alpine F1 team announced that reserve driver Oscar Piastri will take over the seat as his successor.
However, Oscar Piastri, who is likely already under contract to race for McLaren in 2023, has refused to drive for the Alpine F1 team.
The Alpine F1 team believes that Oscar Pistri, which it has invested in as a junior driver, is contractually obligated to drive for the team in 2023, Otmar Szafnauer said from the board of directors in Paris that Pistri himself will be in 2023. He said the team would seek compensation if he chose not to join the Alpine seat in 2019.
The FIA Contract Approval Board (CRB) appears to have declared both contracts (Alpine and Piastri, McLaren and Piastri) valid, and a legal battle appears to be underway.
Otmar Szafnauer is more than 90% sure he will appear in the High Court,” he told Reuters.
“Ideally, Alpine would like CRB to deny the validity of the contract between Piastri and McLaren, but another option is compensation for the team. I have been investing
Otmar Szafnauer explained the second option as follows.
“If in the end CRB says only the Alpine deal is valid and Piastri thinks ‘that’s fine, but I’m not going to drive for them, I’m going to wait a year’, we’ll see. I will fight for compensation.”
Adding to his previous statement, Otmar Szafnauer added that he has not yet understood the amount of his investment in Oscar Piastri.
Alpine would therefore certainly appeal if a ruling were to be handed out declaring that the contract between McLaren and Piastri was in fact valid. Then, in preparation for the appeal, the amount of investment will be revealed.
The only way Alpine can stay out of lawsuits is for Oscar Piastri to drive for the team in 2023, as the Alpine F1 team wants.
However, McLaren may then choose to appeal the ruling.