Alpine vow to change approach after Oscar Piastri drama

Oscar Piastri will drive for McLaren in 2023, despite Alpine announcing him as Esteban Ocon’s partner for next season.

The Oscar Piastri saga surrounded one of the most complex and controversial driver moves in recent times, as both McLaren and Alpine believed that they had legally binding contracts with the Australian.

Alpine announced their young driver as Esteban Ocon’s partner for 2023, however the Australian shocked the paddock hours later by releasing a statement on social media, claiming that he will not be racing for Alpine.

It was then revealed that Piastri had signed a contract with McLaren around the time of the Grand Prix at Silverstone that would see him drive for the team next season.

The contract recognition board found that Piastri’s young driver contract with Alpine did not force him to race for the team in 2023, leaving the door open for the 21-year-old to join McLaren.

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Alpine team principal Otmar Snafnauer has now said that his team must do things differently in the future, making sure that they avoid such contract loopholes.

“What transpired over the summer isn’t what we had planned back in December [2021],” explained Szafnauer.

“So, because it is not what we had planned, it’s safe to say we should have done things differently, so that the plan would have actually come to fruition.

“In the future, if we do this again, we will take those learnings and make sure that the loopholes that were there to allow Oscar to get out of the contract we thought we had with him.

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“It should be tighter, and maybe the timing should be different, so there are learnings.”

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Szafnauer has suggested that despite not getting their first choice for 2023, Alpine have actually ended up with a stronger driver pairing for next season, after the team managed to pry Pierre Gasly away from AlphaTauri and the Red Bull system.

While Piastri brings McLaren the exciting prospect of a future star, Gasly will provide Alpine with proven talent as well as plenty of room to grow, with the Frenchman more than capable of securing podiums for the team as they attempt to challenge further up the grid than in previous seasons.

Piastri face the daunting task of matching the feats of McLaren star Lando Norris when he joins up with the team next season, a task failed by 33-year-old Daniel Ricciardo, proving that it is not easy to match the Brit.