Piastri saga puts Alpine program under cloud

Tue, 20 September 2022, 08:00

Sep.20 (GMM) Alpine’s young driver program is under a cloud as a result of the Oscar Piastri affair.

Although the young Australian was funded and supported by the Renault-owned outfit since 2020, he controversially slipped out of his agreement and had his new McLaren deal cleared by the FIA’s contract recognition board.

“Beyond our little blemish here at Alpine, I don’t think this is good for the sport,” said Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi.

“We are the ones who got burned before anyone else,” he is quoted by the Dutch publication Formule 1.

He seems to acknowledge that Piastri’s Alpine contract was not watertight, but says the situation sets a precedent that questions the viability of driver development programs.

“I’m not sure if I want to keep training drivers if I have to put them in a contract that they might not find attractive. So how do you fix that?” said Rossi.

“You can decide to save money every year by not investing in drivers and then you just fish for them with the money you’ve saved. We are really wondering whether or not we should go beyond the current pool of drivers we have.

“We’re wondering if we’re going to sign new drivers, because why should we?”

In Piastri’s wake, the most prominent Alpine academy driver is 19-year-old Jack Doohan, the son of motorcycle racing legend Mick, who is linked with the vacant F1 seat for 2023.

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