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Piastri saga casts doubt on Alpine academy

NEWS STORY
22/09/2022

Alpine CEO, Laurent Rossi has admitted that the Oscar Piastri saga has left the French team considering the future of its young driver programme.

Having lost the Australian driver to McLaren, following the decision of the Contract Recognition Board, while Alpine has had to rethink its driver line-up for 2023, it is also left facing up to the fact that supporting a young driver is no guarantee that he will fulfil his side of the arrangement.

Having joined Alpine's academy in 2020, the French team backed Piastri in his F3 and F2 campaigns and has this year run a series of (F1) tests in preparation for his 2023 debut - though originally this was unlikely to be at the wheel of a works car.

Laurent Rossi, CEO of Alpine has admitted that the saga has left Alpine questioning the value of backing young drivers.

"We were the one who got the burn for everyone else," he tells The Race. "The problem it creates is that it makes the market too fluid a place. That endangers the stakeholders that invest into it.

"If you decide that you're going to save money every year, by not investing in drivers, and then you just poach them with that money you saved, it's a different proposition. I'm not sure therefore I want to continue training those drivers, or I'm going to have to lock them in with a contract that might not be appealing to them," he warned.

"So how do you solve that? Now, we're really wondering whether or not to continue beyond the current batch of drivers that we have and with whom we're going to honour until the end our obligations as we have multi-year plans with them.

"We wonder if we're going to take new drivers, because why would we?"

Among the drivers currently signed to the academy are Jack Doohan who was been linked with a number of F1 teams.

Meanwhile, graceless in victory, Zak Brown claims the saga left Otmar Szafnauer looking a "little bit silly" in terms of comments the Alpine boss made ahead of the CRB's review of Piastri's contract.

"It was very noisy," says Brown. "It was better just to let things play out and give a little bit of colour afterwards.

"If you look at all of the comments by Otmar he was giving a little play-by-play of the CRB and how confident they were, and now I think he looks a little silly. That's why it's best to keep your mouth shut, and we can talk about it after the fact when there's something concrete to say."

Hmm... this is the same Zak Brown that has an opinion on almost everything and is only too keen to share it, right?

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by ChickenFarmerF1, 20/09/2022 18:28

"@Mad Matt - exactly. This is just sour grapes from a team that screwed themselves by trying to have it both ways. They wanted to lock Piastri down, but not actually commit anything to him"

Rating: Positive (2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Mad Matt, 20/09/2022 10:23

"From what I've read and from the CRB report Alpine promised a contract and then didn't deliver, promised again, didn't deliver... and so on. So I'm not surprised Oscar and his management team began to wonder what was going on and in the end accepted a concrete offer from someone willing to actually sign something.

Laurent Rossi seems to be busy trying to rewrite history and the CRB findings....."

Rating: Positive (4)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 20/09/2022 10:07

"I guess nowadays a mans word is not his bond, Alpine a little foolish not to have a signed contract in place."

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