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Szafnauer: 'Ninety per cent sure it will be a lawsuit'

Szafnauer: 'Ninety per cent sure it will be a lawsuit'

9 August - 11:36 Last update: 14:32
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GPblog.com

Alpine F1 team principal Otmar Szafnauer reiterates that he is not satisfied with the situation. Oscar Piastri refuses to acknowledge the team's announcement, so Alpine almost certainly wants to hold the driver to his contract by court order.

Szafnauer said that he understood from the board in Paris that the team wants compensation in case Piastri himself chooses not to enter the Alpine seat in 2023. Alpine announced after the Hungary race that Piastri will take over Fernando Alonso's seat from 2023. The Australian declined, as he has in all likelihood already made a deal with rival McLaren for next year. Alpine believes that as a junior of the team, Piastri is contractually obliged to drive for the French team next year.

Alpine is ninety percent sure of a lawsuit

Now that the FIA Contract Recognition Board (CRB) seems to have declared both contracts (Alpine's with Piastri and McLaren's with Piastri) valid, the legal battle seems to be on its way. In an interview with Reuters Szafnauer says: "It is ninety percent certain that we will go to the High Court. " Ideally, Alpine would like the CRB to deny the validity of the contract between Piastri and McLaren, but the other option is compensation for the team. After all, Alpine invested heavily in the young talent.

Szafnauer explains what the second option is: "If the CRB eventually says that only the contract with Alpine is valid and Piastri then thinks: 'That's nice, but I'm not going to drive for them. I'll wait a year', then we'll fight on for compensation." Speaking to the news medium, Szafnauer added to his previous statements that there is no understanding yet of the amount invested in Piastri. So in the event of a ruling declaring the contract between McLaren and Piastri indeed valid, Alpine is certain to appeal. In preparation for that appeal, the amount of investment will be made clear. The only way that it will not come to a court case from the French side, is if Alpine gets its way and Piastri drives for the team in 2023. It is possible that McLaren will then choose to challenge the ruling.

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