How McLaren made its deal with Piastri F1 and what Alpine knew: The Race

How McLaren made its deal with Piastri F1 and what Alpine knew: The Race

Oscar Piastri was initially not guaranteed a seat for the 2023 Formula 1 race with McLaren when he signed his contract in early July, according to The Race.

Piastri has agreed a multi-year deal to join McLaren instead of remaining at the Alpine stable next year.

Alpine thought it had Piastri under contract for 2023 with an option for 2024 as well and wanted to sell its reserve driver on loan to Williams before promoting him to the works team.

F1’s Contract Recognition Board ruled on Friday that only McLaren had a valid contract for Piastri’s services next year, revealing it was signed on July 4.

It was seven weeks before McLaren announced the early termination of Daniel Ricciardo’s contract, and Ricciardo subsequently admitted he was unaware Piastri’s deal was done at the time.

Indeed, just a week after Piastri had signed a contract with McLaren, Ricciardo publicly insisted on social media that he was “committed to McLaren until the end of next year”.

“Obviously, we don’t go into the details of what was in the contract we signed with Oscar,” said McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl.

“Regarding Daniel, as we communicated last week, I think throughout this year, Zak [Brown, McLaren Racing CEO] and myself along with Daniel had an open and transparent dialogue at any time of where we both are.

“And so there is no problem in that regard.”

The Race understands that the comment about not going into detail about Piastri’s contract refers to the fact that he did not explicitly sign a race seat for 2023, even if that was McLaren’s ultimate wish and intention.

Piastri’s deal, which covers at least 2023 and 2024, is believed to have flexibility depending on whether Ricciardo saw out his full three-year deal.

Piastri is understood to have known there was a chance he would be McLaren’s reserve driver in 2023 before taking the race seat in 2024.

This allowed McLaren to hire Piastri and then have time to discuss plans for 2023 with Ricciardo, who is understood to have at least been aware of McLaren’s interest in Piastri when the contract was signed in early July.

Once the early termination of Ricciardo’s contract was agreed, McLaren knew that Piastri could replace him.

“For us, to be honest, it was pretty simple,” Seidl said of ensuring he had Piastri on board.

“There are two things you need to have in place if you want a driver to drive for you in Formula 1, which is a contract and registration with a contract recognition board.

“This is what we launched in July. And so our plan was clear.”

Another element of this saga that has drawn criticism, for Piastri, is Alpine’s accusation that he should have shown more integrity.

It has been suggested that Piastri behaved inappropriately in pursuing a move away from Alpine, and notably his public rejection of the team’s claim that he would be a driver in 2023.

This came on Tuesday after the Hungarian Grand Prix, following news that Fernando Alonso, who Alpine had hoped to retain for 2023, would switch to Aston Martin.

Alpine announced Piastri as the 2023 driver on Tuesday afternoon after hinting on Tuesday morning that there were doubts about what he wanted to do.

Racing understands that at the time Piastri had made his intentions clear to the team, and it has even been suggested that Alpine were aware of what Piastri wanted to do before Alonso’s deal with Aston was announced on Monday Martin.

Formula 1 World Championship Motor Racing Monaco Grand Prix Thursday Monte Carlo, Monaco

The implication is that Piastri had made no secret of his McLaren deal, or at least his desire to move there, from Alpine.

But Alpine probably persevered with the announcement because it firmly believed it had a binding deal with Piastri for 2023 and wanted to assert its position.

This meant that the dispute became public and prompted Piastri to issue a public dismissal of the Alpine statement, which Piastri did not expect to be issued as his camp did not want the statement to go unchallenged.

In addition to Alpine apparently being aware of Piastri’s intentions, Alpine was also responsible for Piastri’s lack of a pre-existing contract with the team.

As RacingNews365 revealed, Alpine had only been operating on a “head of terms” deal until 2022 after consistently delaying the delivery of a contract that Piastri’s manager Mark Webber regularly pursued.

Piastri hadn’t signed anything, and certainly not for 2023, but Alpine believed the “term sheet” outlined the previous November constituted a binding agreement.

That conflict of opinion eventually led to this week’s CRB hearing, one McLaren was fully confident it would win because Seidl said Piastri’s management was “very transparent” throughout the process.

“Obviously signing a driver at the end is the result of several conversations,” Seidl said.

Qualifying Day for the Belgian Grand Prix of the Formula 1 World Motor Racing Championship Spa Francorchamps, Belgium

“For people like us it’s clear when you have the opportunity to sign a guy like Oscar, with the speed he’s shown with the personality he is, you want to have him.

“He was a free agent and that’s why we talked to him to make a contract. That’s about it.

“Obviously it’s my job, along with Zak, in any scenario to be aware of what the driver market is, what the contract situation is for all the drivers in the paddock, or the contract situation for the rookies in F2 or in other categories . , which is a normal process.

“It is also our responsibility. And this is what ultimately led to the signing of Oscar Piastri”.


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