McLaren unimpressed with ‘inappropriate, unfair’ comments on Piastri signing

2022 Dutch Grand Prix

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McLaren have criticised comments made over their signing of Alpine reserve driver Oscar Piastri, after the FIA Contract Recognition Board ruled in their favour.

Alpine announced last month Piastri, who has been part of their junior driver programme since 2020, would make his Formula 1 debut for them next year. That was refuted by Piastri, and the CRB today upheld a claim by Alpine’s rivals McLaren to his services.

The situation has attracted considerable interest in the month it has taken to reach a resolution. Alpine team principal Ormar Szafnauer criticised Piastri’s actions, saying he should have acted with more integrity, and suggesting his defection to a rival before making his F1 debut will make other teams less willing to invest in young talent in the future.

Seidl said it was clear from the outset McLaren had a valid contract with Piastri and they expected a straightforward resolution to the dispute.

“Regarding the comments we have seen from the other parties, it’s not for us to comment,” he told media including RaceFans. “I think you have to ask there.

“For us, to be honest, it was quite straightforward. There’s two things you need to have in place if you want to have a driver driving for you in Formula 1, which is a contract and a registration with the contract recognition board. That’s what we have put in place in July and therefore our plan was clear.”

Seidl also admitted he was “a bit surprised about some of the comments I’ve read also from people that had no detailed knowledge of what was actually happening.

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“I think some of these comments were therefore also inappropriate, not fair and just not respecting what was happening. If I just look at myself in such a situation if I only know what happened from one side I try to stay away from making comments on it, and I think that’s also important to mention also in order to protect Oscar.”

The CRB confirmed McLaren signed a contract with Piastri on July 4th. McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown said they “were very comfortable in our situation” despite Alpine’s announcement on August 2nd that he would race for them.

“Oscar and his management were very transparent with us throughout the entire process,” he said. “And from what we knew and what we had signed, we were very confident this was going to be the outcome.”

He pointed out that Red Bull motorsport director Helmut Marko had unsuccessfully tried to lure Lando Norris away from the team several years earlier, but McLaren had a contract in place with him at the time.

“Marko wasn’t able to get Lando because we had a contract with Lando,” said Brown. “So no, I don’t think this changes anything.

“I just think if you have a driver in your stable, you need to have a contract with them because it’s very competitive, as we know. All teams are always looking around to get the best talent they can and if you don’t have a contract, then you’re vulnerable.”

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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17 comments on “McLaren unimpressed with ‘inappropriate, unfair’ comments on Piastri signing”

  1. Seidl could have said if we no longer sign an available driver, we are no longer a racing team.

  2. He’d better deliver, otherwise….

    Alpine should just give their second seat to Drugovich

  3. Something doing the rounds in the paddock is that McLaren didn’t tell Daniel Riccardo they were talking to Piastri and also didn’t tell him they had signed Piastri even while they were telling Daniel he still had a shot at staying with them.

    A number of team bosses are also unimpressed with the way Piastri and especially his management handled things as Piastri was allegedly still telling Alpine he wanted to stay with them and was still embedding himself in all of the engineering briefings and stuff in the week before Hungary. That is apparently why Alpine felt comfortable making the announcement.

    He seemingly never told them he was talking to or had signed with McLaren until after he put out his tweet saying he wouldn’t be racing for Alpine and Alpine were said to be totally blind sided by i. Not simply as they felt they had a contract but also because everything Piastri had said and was doing had everyone in the team of the view he was part of the program and dedicated to the team.

    Many of the people there now feel like he intentionally misled them and strung them all along and that had Alonso not left Piastri likely would have kept the McLaren deal secret until after he’d finished his testing program and would have also been involved in simulator work on the development of the 2023 car which would have been knowledge he’d have taken with him.

    Seems the only people in the paddock who are happy are Piastri and ‘some’ McLaren.

    1. Your expert insight after your obvious conversations with team bosses and staff……

    2. And if you believe the other what-ifs, Piastri’s management had already informed Alpine in July about the new contract, as had McLaren informed Riccardo to initiate the contract-release negotiations.

      Alpine was just playing to the media and Riccardo was trying to get the most compensation.

      Pointless to get worked up on what one side or the other wants the world to know. Just got to move on.

  4. Abit like McLaren not letting know Danny Ric would be leaving. Everyone has looked awwful in this saga

    1. Especially Alpine. Wanting to keep Alonso while also keeping Piastri in the sidelines (without giving him a valid contract). Due to their greed and incompetence they have neither.

  5. To me there is one question and the answer will not be made public. Why didn’t Alpine have Piastri under contract if he was involved in a very confidential part of their business? You would want disclosure rules in place before he was given access. That is 101 stuff, and if his contract expired renew it and spell out key terms if he is called upon to drive full time.

    1. Important small details are being missed by Alpine, and Alpine isn’t going to fight at the front until they stop making strategic mistakes.

      I would love to see a 4 way fight for the front. I think we are getting close to a 3 way race for the last 1/3 of the season.

    2. Because they were really badly run. Their legal department was overstretched.

  6. Frankly, Alpine should have put Piastri in their car for a P1 session early in the season to give him a much stronger indication of their interest.

    They seemed to be delaying that, probably because they didn’t want to upset Alonso and had made it clear they were planning on keeping him for next year, which in turn probably influenced Piastri looking elsewhere.

    1. They tried but their legal department screwed up badly.

  7. The whole thing is pathetic as it is a sport with only 20 starting positions and with reserve drivers and development drivers somewhere between 50 and maybe at the most 80 drivers. I think this is the reason the 10 teams don’t want more teams to join. They already have difficulty getting drivers under contract.

    1. They don’t want more teams to join cos it dilutes their prize money, which is fair. More teams on the grid isn’t going to increase revenue brought in either, not to offset the dilution.

  8. First I’ve heard of a Lando / Red Bull thing. It’d be interesting to see when that was. Obviously Lando got through, but I wonder how many young drivers didn’t because they were locked in contracts that F1 teams didn’t ultimately pick up?

  9. I’d become a big fan of McLaren in recent years, believing they’d completely reinvented themselves after the days of Ron and his zero ethics.
    Well apparently not.
    And if the team and it’s decision makers can’t understand why there are negative comments, then they need to install a lot more mirrors at the MTC.
    I’ve deleted their socials from my feeds. Can’t be bothered seeing those without ethics patting themselves on the back.

  10. I don’t think anyone will ever know the whole truth of the situation. Webber is adamant that Alpine were advised of the McLaren move earlier than they claim. Alpine were also happy to dump Piastri at Williams, a back field team for another 2 years, if rumours are to be believed.

    What still sticks with me, is that there are serious problems at Alpine. Nobody wants to drive for them long term. This is now 3 drivers that have jumped ship in so many seasons. So does their handling of contracts reflect on their general running of other parts of the team? I’m seriously beginning to wonder.

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