In the wake of rumors linking Oscar Piastri to McLaren, Alpine asserts to have a “formal contract” with him through 2023.
This comes after Sebastian Vettel was replaced by Fernando Alonso on Monday after announcing his retirement from Formula 1, now the Enstone-based team is now in need of a second driver for the upcoming season.
Piastri was considered the obvious choice to succeed the Spaniard as Alpine had been training for a spot in Formula 1.
However, this has been complicated by a rumor that Daniel Ricciardo may be replaced by Oscar in 2023 thanks to an agreement the Australian’s management, former driver Mark Webber, allegedly has with McLaren for the upcoming season.
These commitments Alpine has to Piastri include a lengthy testing schedule of 5000km in the vehicle from the previous year, FP1 sessions, and simulator work, which Szafnauer stated “isn’t inconsequential.”
The American team manager also anticipates the driver’s dedication to the squad will be equal.
“I’m not privy to whatever pre-arrangements he has with McLaren, if any at all,” Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer told Motorsport.com. “I hear the same rumours that you do in the pitlane.”
“What I do know is that he has contractual obligations to us, and we do to him, and we’ve been honouring those obligations all year.”
“We do have a legal contract with him into the future for 2023, and if an option is taken up, for 2024. So I don’t know what he’s done with McLaren. Like I said, I’m not privy to that,” he added. “Oscar and his camp are considering their options, whatever that means.”
“There shouldn’t be any complications if everyone is true to the agreements that they signed back only a few months ago, we should be able to move forward with the agreements that we have in place.”
Ironically, this is happening at the same time as McLaren is embroiled in a legal dispute with their IndyCar team over Alex Palou’s signing for the upcoming season, despite the Spaniard reportedly having a contract option at his current squad Ganassi.
Although a judicial action to resolve the issue is still a possibility, Alpine did not completely rule out the “good option” of re-signing Ricciardo if Piastri decided to join McLaren the following year.