The Oscar Piastri saga, in Laurent Rossi’s opinion, will have implications on Formula 1 and Alpine may drop their young drivers academy as a result.
Piastri publicly rejected Alpine during the summer break when they tried to promote him to take Fernando Alonso’s seat after the Sparniard announced a switch to Aston Martin for 2023.
The case was ultimately brought before the Contract Recognition Board, which ruled in favor of McLaren. Piastri was immediately named the team’s 2023 driver when the verdict was made public.
Following the incident, Alpine has been highly critical of the young Australian, even going so far as to claim that he lacks integrity, according to team principal Otmar Szafnauer.
The Alpine team boss has also been outspoken in his criticism, saying the team expected more royalty and commitment from Piastri. Rossi has now claimed that the debacle was not only an Alpine issue but a sporting issue in general.
“Most of the people in the paddock feel the same way,” Rossi said in an interview. “This is not good for the sport… Beyond our little scratch here at Alpine, I think the sport itself gets scratched a bit.”
The Frenchman also stated that Alpine, of which Piastri was a member, may stop running its young driver academy because it was the team that suffered the consequences for everyone else.
“The problem it creates is it makes the market too fluid a place… That endangers the stakeholders that invest into it,” he added. “If you decide to save money every year by not investing in drivers, and then you just poach them with that money you saved, it’s a different proposition.”
“I’m not sure therefore I want to continue training those drivers, or I’m gonna have to lock them in with a contract that might not be appealing to them.”
“So how do you solve that? Now, we are really wondering whether or not beyond the current batch of drivers we have and with whom we will honour until the end our obligations as we have multi-year plans with them.”
“We wonder if we will take new drivers because why would we?”
In the wake of the Piastri scandal, Mercedes CEO Toto Wolff made a similar statement and stated that they will be closely examining the contracts with their junior drivers.
“What I really stand firm for is all of us constructors are investing a lot of money in our junior programmes,” Wolff said. “We invest human resources that go to the go-kart tracks, to the junior formulas, and in some cases it’s little money, in some cases it’s more.”
“George Russell and Esteban Ocon, we financed them a long way… To know now a precedent has been set that if you are clever you can manoeuvre yourself out is something that’s clearly not good for the industry.”
“So we will employ even more lawyers for even stricter contracts.”