Alpine are reportedly prepared to let Oscar Piastri leave for McLaren, and they are said to have identified AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly as a strong possibility to partner Esteban Ocon next year.
At the start of August, Piastri denied Alpine’s announcement that he has been promoted to the race seat in place of Fernando Alonso, who is headed to Aston Martin.
The understanding is that the Australian has made a deal with McLaren while being kept waiting on his future by Alpine, who themselves needed to know Alonso’s future before loaning the Formula 2 champion out.
In the end, the Spaniard grew tired of being told he was not worth any more than a one-year deal because of his age, and he made a deal with Aston Martin’s owner, Lawrence Stroll.
By then, Piastri’s manager, Mark Webber, had reportedly found a way to get the 21-year-old out of his contract with Alpine, and secured him a seat with McLaren to replace Daniel Ricciardo.
The 33-year-old is also looking for a seat for next year, but he is rivalled by the likes of Gasly and Mick Schumacher for the vacant seat.
Alpine are not done with Piastri yet though, as they feel they are owed compensation for the money they have put into his career, only for him to turn his back on them.
As a result, they have gone to the contract recognition board (CRB) to resolve the matter.
In 2005 and 2006, Jenson Button had tried to leave BAR to head back to Williams, and the CRB ruled that he was under contract with BAR, so could not leave for another team.
The Briton went on to win the world championship in 2009 with the Brackley-based side that became Honda, and then Brawn.
Sky Sports reporter, Craig Slater, revealed that Alpine no longer want Piastri in the car, and suggested that Gasly could be their main target.
“Today there will be a major transfer tug of war potentially resolved,” he said.
“Formula 1’s contract review board will meet virtually on a video conference to decide who has the binding contract with the current Alpine reserve Oscar Piastri.
“He is the F2 champion, McLaren want him to replace Daniel Ricciardo, they already have some kind of contractual agreement with him, but Alpine say their agreement is binding.
“I understand though that Piastri is no longer Alpine’s preferred option to continue with them.
“They’ve made enquiries about Pierre Gasly, who is the AlphaTauri driver; he sits within the Red Bull family, he’s into the last year of his contract next season at AlphaTauri.
“My understanding is if Alpine are prepared to pay a fee for him, then he would be allowed to join them.
“So, Alpine will wait to see what kind of compensation, if they win this contractual case, they can perhaps get from McLaren.”
Piastri did not attend last weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix, while Gasly did not want to get sucked into talking about Alpine during his interviews.