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Oscar Piastri: Contract dispute before arbitral tribunal

There is movement in the contract dispute over Oscar Piastri. On the Monday after the Belgian GP, ​​Alpine brought the case before the Contract Recognition Board in Geneva. The arbitration board should decide whether Piastri has to stay with Alpine or switch to McLaren.

The Piastri case has filled the summer slump. But so far there has been little concrete evidence - apart from Oscar Piastri's tweet in early August that he does not want to drive for Alpine. The 21-year-old Australian has been part of the French manufacturer's junior squad since 2020 and has also been contractually bound to Alpine as a "racer" since November 2021.

Condition: Alpine must offer Piastri a regular place in Formula 1 in 2023. Either with yourself or with another team. If Piastri hadn't parked with another team, he would have had to stay with Alpine as a reserve pilot. Hear.

So far, one is mainly dependent on second-hand information. There is talk of missed deadlines and that the contract disputes committee in Geneva has assured Piastri's clan that they can negotiate with other teams.

McLaren is silent on the Piastri case, but with the early termination of Daniel Ricciardo's contract, it has created facts that suggest that the Piastri personality is fairly certain. All you hear from the Alpine camp is that there are no missed deadlines.

Does the CRB go to civil court?

Now movement is finally coming into play. Alpine will call the Contract Recognition Board (CRB) in Geneva on Monday after the Belgian GP and ask the arbitration board for an opinion. The complete contract is then presented. Supposedly, the CRB only has an abridged version, which could possibly result in misunderstandings.

The arbitral tribunal usually makes its decisions relatively quickly. "When Jenson Button stood between BAR and Williams in 2005, it took two days," remembers Alpine team boss Otmar Szafnauer, who was then race manager for BAR's engine partner Honda. For example, the arbitral tribunal can decide that Piastri only gets a super license if he remains an Alpine rider.

Depending on how the decision turns out, it could then continue before a civil court. If Piastri is allowed to change teams, Alpine will sue for the costs incurred by the racing team in promoting his super talent over the past two years. There is talk of five to ten million dollars. For the dowry to the Prema Formula 2 team last year, for the 3,500 test kilometers that Piastri already unwound in a previous year's Alpine, for the simulator drives in the factory.

Better against Norris than Ocon or Albon?

At the moment, both parties are trying to fulfill their contractual obligations.Two Friday training sessions are still reserved for Piastri. The first mission could take place in Monza. Alpine still wants to enable the child prodigy from Melbourne to complete the remaining 1,500 kilometers of testing. Piastri is still called in on the GP weekends to drive in the simulator at the factory to support Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon with their setup work. Piastri was just as active during the Hungarian GP as he was at the Belgian GP.

People are still puzzling over why the Australian suddenly no longer wants to drive for Alpine, even though the red carpet was laid out for him there. The simplest explanation would be that McLaren is offering him more money. But money, say Piastri's friends, has never motivated the reigning Formula 2 champion. "He wants to drive."

But not at Williams, where he could have competed alongside Alexander Albon. The deal was said to have already been negotiated. Piastri was to be parked there to give Alonso another year at Alpine.

But Piastri apparently turned down the offer. Maybe because he could only lose against Albon? If he had beaten the Thai, many would have said that was to be expected from a budding exceptional pilot.

If he loses to Lando Norris in his first year, he might be forgiven. Because Norris himself is a super talent. Piastri is the best judge of his chances against Ocon. All he has to do is compare the simulator data. The benefit of staying at Alpine would be that he already knows the team.


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