Oscar Piastri wasn’t guaranteed a 2023 F1 race seat with McLaren when he first signed a deal in early July, The Race understands.
Piastri has agreed a multi-year deal to join McLaren, not staying with Alpine next year.
Alpine believes Piastri is under contract for 2023 with an option for 2024 and wanted to loan the reserve driver to Williams before eventually promoting him to the works team.
The F1 contract recognition committee ruled on Friday that only McLaren had a valid contract for Piastri’s service next year, which was signed on 4 July.
That was seven weeks before McLaren announced the early termination of Daniel Ricciardo’s contract, and Ricciardo later admitted he was unaware that Piastri’s contract was complete at the time.
In fact, just a week after Piastri signed with McLaren, Ricciardo publicly said on social media that he was “committed to McLaren until the end of next year.”
McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl said: “Of course, I will not go into the details of the contract with Oscar.
“Regarding Daniel, as I said last week, throughout this year, Zach [Brown, McLaren Racing CEO] With Daniel, I had an open and transparent dialogue wherever we were and at all times.
“So there is no problem in that regard.”
The comment that the race would not go into detail about Piastri’s contract, even if that was McLaren’s ultimate desire and intention, refers to the fact that the race seat for 2023 has not been explicitly signed. I understand that
Piastri’s contract, which covers at least 2023 and 2024, is believed to have had some flexibility, depending on whether Ricciardo saw a full three-year contract.
It is understood that Piastri knew he could become McLaren’s reserve driver for 2023 before he was awarded a race seat for 2024.
This allowed McLaren to sign Piastri and give him time to discuss his plans for 2023 with Ricciardo. It is understood that Ricciardo was at least aware of McLaren’s interest in Piastri when the deal was signed in early July.
With the early termination of Ricciardo’s contract agreed, McLaren knew Piastri could be his replacement.
“For us, to be honest, it was a no-brainer,” said Seidl, who ensures the Piastri is on board.
“If you want a driver to drive in Formula 1, there are two things you need to do: a contract and registration with the Contract Approval Board.
“That’s what we introduced in July. So our plan was clear.”
Another element of the story that drew criticism for Piastri was Alpine’s accusation that he should have shown more integrity.
It has been suggested that Piastri has acted inappropriately in pursuing a move from Alpine, especially in publicly refusing the team’s claim to become their driver for 2023.
This followed news on Tuesday after the Hungarian Grand Prix that Fernando Alonso, whom Alpine had expected to stay on for 2023, made a shock move to Aston Martin.
Alpine announced Piastri as its driver for 2023 on Tuesday afternoon, hinting Tuesday morning that there were doubts about what he wanted to do.
Race understands that by this time Piastri had made his intentions clear to the team, and Alpine was aware of what Piastri wanted to do before Alonso’s Aston Martin deal was announced on Monday. It has been suggested that
This means Piastri did not hide from Alpine his desire to sign a McLaren deal, or at least move to McLaren.
However, Alpine adamantly believed it had signed a binding agreement with Piastri for 2023 and wanted to assert its position, which is likely why it stuck with the announcement.
It meant that the controversy had become public, prompting Piastri to issue a public dismissal of Alpine’s statement, which his campaign did not want the declaration to remain unchallenged. I didn’t expect it to be issued.
Alpine was clearly aware of Piastri’s intentions, as well as the lack of an existing Piastri contract with the team.
As RacingNews365 has revealed, Alpine has been operating solely on a ‘chief’ contract until 2022 and has consistently delayed sending out a contract that Piastri’s manager Mark Webber has routinely tracked.
Piastri did not sign anything, nor did it in 2023, but Alpine believed the “terms sheet” outlined last November constituted a binding agreement.
That disagreement ultimately led to this week’s CRB hearings, but McLaren was completely confident of winning.
“Obviously signing the driver in the end is the result of several conversations,” Seidl said.
“It’s clear to people like us that if you had the chance to sign a guy like Oscar, you’d want to have the speed he showed and his personality.
“He was a free agent, so I talked to him to get a deal. That’s it.
“Together with Zach, it’s obviously my job to be aware of what the driver market is, the contractual situation of every driver in the paddock, or the contractual situation of a rookie in F2 or any other category. , which is the normal process.
“It’s also our responsibility. That’s what ultimately led to the deal with Oscar Piastri.”