After Fernando Alonso’s shocking decision to sign with Aston Martin for next year, the Alpine team quickly moved to a contract it believes it has with reserve driver Piastri.
It announced the deal on Tuesday afternoon, the day after it learned that Alonso would be leaving at the end of the campaign.
However, a few hours after Alpine’s announcement, Piastri took to social media to insist that he had not signed anything with the team and would not be racing for it in 2023.
“I understand that Alpine F1 without my permission issued a press release late this afternoon that I will be driving for them next year,” Piastri wrote.
“This is wrong and I have not signed a contract with Alpine before 2023. I will not drive for Alpine next year.”
Clearly his comments come in the wake of a push Piastri and his management have made to secure a seat at McLaren for next year.
There have been suggestions that the youngster may even have a pre-contract with McLaren, meaning if options at Alpine expired he would commit to joining the Woking squad.
It is widely known that as part of its long-term deal with Alpine, it was to guarantee Piastri an F1 race seat for 2023 by a certain date if he remained under contract.
Oscar Piastri, Alpine
Photo by: Alpine
What matters now is whether such a date came in and whether there was a point in time when Alpine’s rights expired.
But despite Piastri’s statement and his clear belief that he will not race for it in 2023, it is clear that Alpine is adamant that it is on firm legal grounds with its contract.
It means that if a dispute does arise between Piastri and another team, it may have to be settled by Formula 1’s Contracts Recognition Board.
The body of independent lawyers will then read the terms of the contracts that Piastri has and determine who has rights to him next year.
Ahead of Piastri’s announcement on Tuesday, team boss Otmar Szafnauer said he had no doubts Alpine was entitled to his services for next year.
“We have the right to take him,” he said. “We have priority.”