F1: Wolff, Horner back Alpine over Piastri saga

(GMM) All eyes are turning to Geneva on Monday as the FIA’s contract recognition board meets to discuss Oscar Piastri’s next move in Formula 1.

“We’re going to the CRB on Monday, and they’ll decide which contract that Oscar signed takes precedence,” Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer said, amid reports the 21-year-old Australian has also been signed up by McLaren.

Otmar Szafnauer Team Principal Alpine during the Belgian GP, 25-28 August 2022 at Spa-Francorchamps track, Formula 1 World championship 2022.

Even before starting a single career grand prix, the reigning Formula 2 champion has polarized the F1 world by rejecting Alpine’s confirmation of his 2023 race seat with a now notorious tweet.

Szafnauer has openly questioned Piastri’s “integrity”, and Mercedes boss Toto Wolff seems to agree.

“It is important that the junior programs of the teams are treated with respect. I think some kids should be careful what they post on social media about multinational corporations,” he said.

“I believe in karma and I believe in honesty. But it is not really for me to judge, since I am not aware of the entire legal situation.”

Red Bull boss Christian Horner is also confused about how the Alpine vs McLaren tug-of-war over Piastri could have happened.

Christian Horner Team Principal Red Bull Racing during the Belgian GP, 25-28 August 2022 at Spa-Francorchamps track, Formula 1 World championship 2022.

“Contractually, it should never happen,” he said.

“If Renault or Alpine has invested in his junior career, it’s with an eye on the future and with that comes loyalty,” Horner insisted.

“I don’t understand what is going on contractually, but if Piastri is in a position where he doesn’t think he has to drive for Alpine next year, then something is wrong.

“Hopefully, it will all be straightened out.”

The most likely outcome, irrespective of the CRB’s decision, is that Piastri will be paired with Lando Norris at McLaren next year.

In the event that McLaren loses the case, the British team and also the Mark Webber-led Piastri camp are expected to simply compensate Alpine.

“We’re very confident,” Szafnauer insisted at Spa-Francorchamps.

“I’ve seen both sides of the argument, and we’re confident that Oscar signed with us back in November. There are certain things that need to be in the contract, and I’m confident they’re in there.”


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