Formula 1 | Alpine F1 will think about parting ways with Piastri next week

Alpine F1 is expected to decide early next week whether to keep Oscar Piastri's services until the end of 2022 or release him early.

The Contract Recognition Board delivered a unanimous verdict on Friday that Piastri's multi-year deal with McLaren was valid, freeing the Australian to join the team from 2023.

He is currently Alpine's reserve driver, a position he holds after winning successive Formula 3 and Formula 2 titles with the support of Alpine.

Alpine F1 director Otmar Szafnauer revealed this morning that Piastri may not finish the 2022 season in his colors, confirming the tensions arising from the whole affair.

“He is with us this weekend doing simulator work and he will continue this weekend,” explains Szafnauer.

"And on Monday we will meet with him and decide how we go forward. We will decide on Monday. I don't want to think about it here at Zandvoort. There are more considerations to be had."

Szafnauer stressed that he respects the CRB's decision and admits he expected a more difficult decision to be made given the arguments made. It was not the case.

"Well, I didn't know all the arguments on the other side. Then I mean it took four days, as everyone knows, there are good arguments on both sides, coming out, I thought it was around 50-50 but it didn't settle in our favour."

Szafnauer said last weekend that Piastri learned of the announcement while working in the team's simulator. But that moment has been described as "bizarre and frankly upsetting" by Piastri himself (must read here), as it put him in an awkward position in front of the other team members. The Australian even told his team several times that he had signed elsewhere.

What does Szafnauer think of these statements?

"Well, at that point we had discussions with Oscar and we felt like the contractual agreements we had with Oscar were valid and we didn't need the CRB. So that's the raison."

"What I can say and reiterate what I said before: Oscar was in the simulator. When he finished his simulation session, I went to tell him the decision and congratulate him. He smiled and said thank you. "

"Was there a group of people there like he says? I can tell you no, it was me and the simulator tech who were in the same room."

"But if you've ever seen a simulator, it's a pretty big room: as big as here [la salle de conférence de presse de Zandvoort]. We were three in this room. So it was not a group of people. It wasn't weird, he smiled and said thank you."