It’s awards season! The time of year when we at GrandPrix247 look back on the 2022 Formula 1 season and choose who gets one of our awards. Our Driver News of the year? Oscar Piastri defects from Alpine.
There were several candidates for this award, mainly Sebastian Vettel’s retirement decision, Fernando Alonso jumping ship from Alpine to Aston Martin, Daniel Ricciardo fired from McLaren, and Oscar Piastri defecting from Alpine to McLaren.
If you look at it all these stories are related from a “cause and effect” angle as it was Vettel’s decision to retire the opened the door for Alonso to leave Alpine creating a space the French team wanted to fill with Piastri who had other thoughts as Ricciardo’s seat at McLaren became vacant.
But Piastri’s Alpine snub wins it because of the high profile legal conflict it created between Alpine and McLaren who went to war over the young Australian driver, McLaren winning the battle.
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It was also very weird as to how it unraveled, with Alpine announcing they have promoted Piastri into a 2023 full time F1 race seat, the latter saying “No thank you” on social media, in what was one of the most embarrassing moments for the Enstone squad who in a matter of days managed to lose Alonso and Piastri.
In fact, it will go down as one of the most infamous driver-managing bungles in the sport’s history, thanks to Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer – still bitter by the way – and his boss CEO Laurent Rossi.
In the end, Piastri goes to Woking which is good for him as you could only imagine how awkward it would’ve been had Alpine won the legal battle, but it remains to be seen how he performs alongside Lando Norris with the spotlight definitely on him in 2023 to prove he was worth all the trouble both McLaren and Alpine went through to secure his services.
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) December 1, 2022