Revealed: How Oscar Piastri was ‘able to free himself from Alpine’s grip’

Oscar Piastri is thought to have made a deal with McLaren for next season.

Former Formula 1 driver, Christian Danner, reckons that former Renault team principal Flavio Briatore was a key factor in Oscar Piastri’s shock rebellion against Alpine.

Briatore is currently the manager of Fernando Alonso, who is set to leave Alpine and join Aston Martin next season when Sebastian Vettel retired.

The German was quickly replaced by the Silverstone-based team, and Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer – who used to head the Aston Martin team – believes that an agreement was already in place between Alonso and Lawrence Stroll.

READ: This is how much McLaren will need to pay Daniel Ricciardo to buy out his contract

The 41-year-old had been waiting for a new deal to materialise with the French side, and he was keen to sign a long-term extension, but due to his age, Alpine could only offer him a one plus one.

Perhaps more cynically, it was also in a bid to make sure that there was a seat available to Piastri in the coming seasons, so they did not want to deny their reserve driver that chance by signing Alonso onto a longer contract.

The Enstone side had also been trying to secure a loan deal for Piastri at Williams next year, but there were two issues with the plan.

The first was that the 21-year-old does not want to be racing towards the back of the grid next year, and the deal was being held off while Alpine waited to see if Alonso would indeed re-sign.

There was little fault on the part of Alpine on that front, as they did not want to lose Piastri in case he was needed, but the reigning Formula 2 champion has made other plans.

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He is thought to have made a deal with McLaren to replace Daniel Ricciardo next year, but Alpine are convinced that he has an agreement to join them should they activate a clause in his contract.

However, Danner reckons that Briatore, using his many years of experience, looked over the deal and found a get-out for the young driver.

“The whole scenario clearly has Briatore’s handwriting,” he told

“It’s classic Flavio, there’s certainly a contract for Piastri that Flavio has skimmed over – very much in the mind of the manager, Mark Webber. 

“There was definitely a clause.”

The German affirmed that Briatore has the mind for negotiating his way round contracts, and that might have helped Piastri fly the Alpine nest.

READ: Alpine boss lashes out at Oscar Piastri: ‘It’s about integrity as a human being’

“When he believes in someone, he has the foresight to plan in a positive sense – and not just ruthlessly, which is logically the case in this business,” added Danner.

“I could imagine Piastri being able to free himself from Alpine’s grip, so that he can hopefully drive for McLaren for the next two years and then be free for a big deal. 

“That definitely has Briatore’s signature.”

There is still a chance that Ricciardo, who has a contract at McLaren until the end of next year, will stay, but if Piastri has found his way into the team, then Briatore deserves the credit in Danner’s eyes.

“Of course it can all go wrong, but if it works out then he [Briatore] has done everything right,” he stated.

Ricciardo recently issued a statement confirming that both he and McLaren intend to see out the rest of his deal.