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The Piastri and Alpine Saga Explained, Why Is No One at Fault in This Drama
As you probably know, Oscar Piastri will race for McLaren in Formula One next season after the team completed an opportunistic swoop for a young talented driver Alpine thought would be its long-term future.

The Piastri and Alpine Saga Explained, Why Is No One at Fault in This Drama

The Piastri and Alpine Saga Explained, Why Is No One at Fault in This DramaThe Piastri and Alpine Saga Explained, Why Is No One at Fault in This DramaThe Piastri and Alpine Saga Explained, Why Is No One at Fault in This DramaThe Piastri and Alpine Saga Explained, Why Is No One at Fault in This DramaThe Piastri and Alpine Saga Explained, Why Is No One at Fault in This DramaThe Piastri and Alpine Saga Explained, Why Is No One at Fault in This DramaThe Piastri and Alpine Saga Explained, Why Is No One at Fault in This DramaThe Piastri and Alpine Saga Explained, Why Is No One at Fault in This DramaThe Piastri and Alpine Saga Explained, Why Is No One at Fault in This DramaThe Piastri and Alpine Saga Explained, Why Is No One at Fault in This Drama
A four-person panel for F1's contract recognitions board ruled that the only contract that could be recognized for the Australian driver was the deal he signed with McLaren. The agreement covers 2023 and 2024, so Piastri will be in F1 for at least two years.

The British team reacted to the verdict by immediately announcing Oscar as Lando Norris's teammate for next year. At the same time, Alpine released a statement where basically, they were considering the matter closed. However, there was this major revelation because the court declared that the deal between McLaren and Piastri was signed right after the British Grand Prix, much earlier than many believed to be the case. Rumors of McLaren's interest in the Australian driver only emerged a couple of weeks later, which meant that the British racing team had signed Oscar almost two months before it finalized the deal to terminate Daniel Ricciardo's three-year contract earlier.

Oscar Piastri has not even taken part in an official F1 weekend event, and he is already hated and criticized by many fans due to his lack of integrity. The reigning Formula 2 champion missed out on graduation to the big league in 2022, with Alpine placing him on this extensive testing program. The French team let him test the 2021 car and promised to find him a race seat in F1 for the upcoming season.

Still, Alpine did not want to run him as a rookie in 2023, so they made a loan agreement with Williams. At the same time, this move was made because they really wanted to keep Fernando Alonso another year alongside Esteban Ocon. But the two-time world champion had other plans and shocked the French team by agreeing to move to Aston Martin after Sebastian Vettel announced his retirement at the end of the 2022 season. Then, Alpine tried to promote Piastri in his place, but as we know now, he already had a signed McLaren deal in his bag for weeks by the time Alonso made his decision.

Besides, there are rumors that Oscar made his intentions clear to Alpine way before Fernando Alonso's shocking decision to leave the team brought him back to F1. This happened because Piastri's manager (ex-F1 driver Mark Webber) did not want to see the rising star race in a backmarker team. And all of this connect with the Australian driver publicly rejecting Alpine's announcement that he would be the team's new driver for 2023.

The French team feels even now a deep sense of betrayal from Oscar and his camp about this problem and has been pushing a legal argument as well as a legal one. If you remember, team principal Otmar Szafnauer called out the Australian driver for his lack of integrity rather than trying to settle matters quietly. And you can understand Alpine in some way because they held up its end of the bargain, so of course, they were upset that Oscar was refusing to uphold his part and trust the team's plans for him. Actually, he didn't even try to trust his team, so it's easy to portray Piastri as the main villain of this whole saga.

However, I think this is quite a harsh characterization. Under the instruction of his management team led by Mark Webber, he decided to ditch Alpine because he believed he had a better offer elsewhere. And can you blame him? Let's just think about it. The F1 world has changed a lot in the last decades, and a maximum of two or three teams battle for a championship every year. The other teams are fighting more for the remaining points and money. And since its creation, all F1 world champions and great drivers went to better teams when they had the chance.

We have all the right to be skeptical about whether that's the right choice, but he has not misbehaved for someone trying to carve out a career in such an elite sport where the ones with too many sentiments are thrown out. At the end of the day, Formula 1 is a business like all other businesses out there in the world.

It would be different if Alpine had really intended to promote Oscar for 2023, and he would have broken the agreement to sign for McLaren instead. But as we all know, that's not what happened, and Alpine needs to take some responsibility for this colossal drama too.

As it always should be, trust and loyalty go both ways, and Alpine has behaved selfishly as well to their future hope. Their passiveness cost the Australian driver a place on the grid for the 2022 Formula 1 season. Besides, he had no contractual guarantee of a future together with the French team in the medium term. If Fernando Alonso had signed the one-year plus one deal he was offered, Oscar could have been denied an Alpine seat until 2025. His only viable option was the loan to Williams, which for the last couple of years were fighting Haas for the worst team in Formula 1.

Simply put, Alpine was telling Piastri that he is their future and they will do everything they can for him, but their actions were not the same. And it is funny that the French team is accusing Piastri of a lack of loyalty and integrity because if it weren't for Alonso's departure to join Aston, they wouldn't even consider promoting Oscar to F1 so soon.

It's pretty hypocritical to be disinterested in a driver one day and then be upset and angry that the driver isn't interested in you the next day. But then this question appears? What team would ever cast aside an in-form and experienced Fernando Alonso (which, in my opinion, is one of the top three most talented F1 drivers of all time right next to Senna and Clark) for a rookie, no matter how highly rated he may be?

Basically, Piastri and his management team have reacted to a situation Alpine created in a selfish but justifiably way. Besides, Oscar is only guilty of trusting his management to pursue a fantastic opportunity and alternative. He expressed his gratitude for all Alpine has done for him and wished the team the best for the future.

Why was McLaren so interested in a driver that did not even have a free practice outing to his name? After all, they sacrificed Daniel Ricciardo, an incredibly talented and experienced driver, to bring Piastri to the team. Oscar had great results in every racing series he was a part of, but still, there are question marks around him, as it is for all rookies, even those with outstanding credentials. Plus, the entire saga also puts a great deal of expectation, pressure, and attention on Piastri before he has even driven a McLaren. He moved from a team where he was well planted to one where Lando Norris is an established superstar and long-term choice.

Until Piastri's debut in a McLaren, we still have a long way to go. But let's see if his driving skills, off-track confidence, and intelligence will help him pave his way through F1.

 
 
 
 
 

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