Nico Rosberg tells Alpine they made a mistake

Oscar Piastri will join McLaren next year.

2016 world champion, Nico Rosberg, believes that Alpine must look in the mirror when figuring out why they started the year with three drivers, and now have just the one.

Fernando Alonso went into this season alongside Esteban Ocon knowing that he was out of contract at the end of the season, so both parties wanted to press on with negotiations.

The Spaniard wanted at least another two years, but team principal, Otmar Szafnauer, was only willing to offer him a one-plus one, with a review taking place at the end of next year.

Alonso has said throughout the season that his performance is more important than his age, so when Szafnauer started considering that, the 41-year-old started looking elsewhere.

READ: Zak Brown on Oscar Piastri legal battle: ‘We kept our mouths shut deliberately’

Sebastian Vettel announced his retirement ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix before the summer break, and Alonso quickly signed with Lawrence Stroll to replace the German at Aston Martin.

Alpine then announced that reserve driver, Oscar Piastri, had been promoted, only for the Australian to publicly deny this.

The former Formula 2 champion had signed with McLaren, because he was told he might not have a seat available to him until the start of 2025.

However, Alpine still wanted to keep him on board, so it was possible that the 21-year-old might not be on the grid, in any capacity, in either 2023 or 2024.

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He went to McLaren as a result, and signed a contract to replace Daniel Ricciardo next year.

Szafnauer questioned his driver’s “integrity” in light the funding the French side have put into his junior career, and he believed his team were owed compensation.

However, the contract recognition board (CRB) ruled that Piastri’s deal with McLaren is legally binding, so the Aussie will partner Lando Norris next year.

Rosberg understands why Szafnauer is upset, but he also empathises with the fact that Piastri could not keep waiting for the team to decide which driver they wanted going forward.

“Of course I have sympathy, because Otmar was touching on all the ethical matters and honourable things,” he told Sky Sports.

“But as we know, this is a business as well, and for Oscar when the opportunity came, he’s going to take it, I mean a race seat at McLaren, boom, you as a young driver, you have got to go for it.

“You can’t just wait around at Alpine and see what Alonso does and see what they decide.”

Ultimately, the contractual situation was mismanaged by Alpine.

READ: Alpine claim they hired an employee with a special assignment for Oscar Piastri

“It’s just a mistake on the legal front of Alpine,” said Rosberg. 

“When you have a young driver like that, you have to make it absolutely rock solid the contract for five to 10 years if you invest so much money, and I can’t believe that they’ve left those loopholes in there.”

Alpine have a shortlist of 14 drivers to choose from as Alonso’s replacement, with Ricciardo, F2 driver Jack Doohan, and AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly all thought to be among them.