The Formula 1 Silly Season surrounding Oscar Piastri was heard by the governing FIA’s Contract Recognition Board (CRB) on Monday but the body may not offer an immediate ruling clarifying the 21-year-old’s future.
However, in “the coming days” there should be clarity on the matter a source close to proceedings told GrandPrix247.
But Piastri denied it with a follow-up statement, and is understood to have signed a contract with McLaren, said he won’t be racing for the team that has supported his junior career and, until Alonso’s departure, was set to give him his Formula One debut with Williams next season.
McLaren have created a vacancy for next season by ending Daniel Ricciardo’s contract one year early. With both teams staking their claims to the highly-rated youngster, the CRB will decide which is valid.
But set up to swiftly settle contract disputes, the body could take up to three days, the maximum time granted, to issue its verdict.
Alpine team boss Otmar Szafnauer told reporters at the Belgian Grand Prix he was confident of the merits of the team’s claims: “I don’t know when they’ll rule
“It will be soon thereafter, and then, once we have all the information in front of us, we’ll start looking at who will fill the open seat.”
Alpine, fourth in the overall standings, could have a number of drivers in the frame should they need to replace Piastri.
Pierre Gasly, who was confirmed for 2023 by Red Bull sister team AlphaTauri this year, has emerged as a candidate for the Alpine drive, according to Motorsport.com.
The team’s current driver Esteban Ocon, meanwhile, said at the Belgian Grand Prix that he has told management to consider his friend and current Haas driver Mick Schumacher for the seat.
Ricciardo, a free agent next year, could also return to the Enstone-based team, then racing as Renault, whom he left for McLaren in 2021 after two seasons.
They could also get a sizeable payout, with Szafnauer not ruling out taking the matter to the high court to recover the investment the team has made in Piastri’s career.
If the CRB rules in Alpine’s favour the French team could allow a rival team eg. McLaren to buy him out
Equally, they could force the Australian, who continues to perform his simulator duties back at the team’s base in England, to race for them.
When this ruling will be made is unknown, but the FIA under President Ben Sulayem appear to get things done faster than the previous regime. A decision is expected on coming days.
Piastri’s case resembles a time when Jenson Button had agreed a deal to leave BAR for Williams in 2005 but the former claimed it had a contract with the Briton.
The dispute went to the FIS’s CRB who ruled BAR’s contract with Button was valid and he won the world championship with them in 2009 when they raced as Brawn GP.
McLaren have kept the focus squarely on Ricciardo’s departure: “I don’t want to touch on any names or scenarios because it just creates headlines…”
“Regarding the future, that’s something we will put our attention to from next week onwards,” Seidl told reporters, in other words ignoring the Piastri affair.. (Reporting by Abhishek Takle)