Here's why Oscar Piastri was able to leave Alpine for McLaren

Oscar Piastri has garnered a lot of attention even before he has completed a lap in an F1 race
Oscar Piastri has garnered a lot of attention even before he has completed a lap in an F1 race

New information has emerged that Oscar Piastri never had an F1 contract with Alpine, which is why could sign a deal with McLaren without any notification to the French squad.

The entire Oscar Piastri-Alpine saga is somewhat convoluted in the way it has been put forward to the F1 fans. With new details emerging every day, there is a lack of clarity on what the contract status of the Australian was and how he could make his way out of it.

In a recent report released by RacingNews365, it was stated that Piastri had a contract with the Alpine driver academy and not the F1 team due to which the French team was caught a bit unawares with the whole situation. The report stated:

“Piastri had signed a contract with Alpine in November 2021, which contained a clause outlining the team’s obligations towards Piastri. These obligations included giving Piastri a certain number of test kilometres in an F1 car, which understands is in excess of 3,500km, along with paying his expenses and making him Alpine’s reserve driver in 2022.”
2023 driver line-up confirmed: Esteban Ocon 🤝 Oscar PiastriAfter four years as part of the Renault and Alpine family, Reserve Driver Oscar Piastri is promoted to a race seat alongside Esteban Ocon starting from 2023.

According to the report, the Alpine driver's academy contract does not fall under the F1's Contract Recognition Board, hence the team did not get a notification. It further stated:

“If Alpine fulfilled these obligations, an option existed for the team to place Piastri in a race seat for 2023. Crucially, however, this contract was between Piastri and Alpine’s Driver Academy, rather than the F1 team. This meant the contract was never registered with Formula 1’s Contract Recognition Board, as it was not a F1 contract.”
“Accordingly, when McLaren lodged their contract with Piastri with the CRB after signing the Australian, neither Alpine nor McLaren received any notification from the CRB of any conflict.”

Alpine could be seeking financial compensation for losing Oscar Piastri

According to the report, should McLaren commit to replacing Daniel Ricciardo with Oscar Piastri, there is a $21mn compensation that the team might be forced to pay to the driver. It stated:

“Though McLaren currently have Lando Norris and Ricciardo under contract for next year, has learned that McLaren intend to release Ricciardo from his deal. Negotiations are currently ongoing as to the terms of such a split, but understands that Ricciardo’s camp are looking for financial compensation in the region of $21 million.”
Alpine could seek millions in compensation at the London High Court if their Australian reserve Oscar Piastri refuses to race for them next season, team principal Otmar Szafnauer told Reuters on Monday.

If Alpine decides to pursue the matter in civil court, however, the team would be chiefly seeking financial compensation for all the expenses incurred by losing Oscar Piastri rather than his services for the 2023 F1 season. The report went on to state:

“This means the only options available to Alpine are to pursue the matter in a civil court. With Alpine’s parent company Renault Groupe registered in France, and the Alpine F1 team headquartered in England, it is unclear which jurisdiction would hold sway.”
“Should Alpine decide to pursue the matter in a civil court, it is understood that the team would chiefly be seeking financial compensation for losing Piastri, rather than a ruling obliging the Australian to drive for Alpine in 2023.”

It's intriguing to see the kind of attention Oscar Piastri has garnered even before he has completed a single lap in the sport. It will be interesting to see what kind of performances he can pull off in F1 once the dust settles.

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Edited by Anurag C
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