As per a report from Motorsport.com, Formula 1’s Contracts’ Recognition Board is to convene next week to determine the contract status of Oscar Piastri.
After winning the 2021 Formula 2 title, a year on from claiming the Formula 3 crown, Piastri found himself without an opening to step up to the Formula 1 grid for 2022.
But, as a member of the Alpine junior team, he became their reserve driver for 2022 with a programme put in place to prepare the Aussie for a Formula 1 seat come 2023.
However, what was once a seemingly rather clear situation has transcended into something that is anything but.
The dramas started when Fernando Alonso announced that he will swap Alpine for Aston Martin come 2023, with Alpine then moving to announce that Piastri would replace the two-time World Champion.
However, Piastri would then sensationally claim that this was not true and that he would not be driving for Alpine next season. With Daniel Ricciardo’s early departure from McLaren at the end of the 2022 campaign now confirmed, it is believed that the Woking outfit has lined up Piastri as his replacement.
So, with Motorsport.com reporting that both teams believe they have a valid contract in place for Piastri’s services, they state that the Contracts’ Recognition Board will meet next Monday ahead of anticipated progress on the dispute.
The CRB is an independent organisation, formed by lawyers who convene to settle contractual matters, with the end goal being a verdict on which team has the right to Piastri’s services.
Their decision will then be passed on to the FIA, though Motorsport.com state that at this stage, it is not clear when it will be made.
Whatever the outcome, Oscar Piastri will be under a lot of pressure
It is often difficult for a young driver to break down one door when it comes to finding a route onto the Formula 1 grid, so to have the two leading midfield outfits allegedly fighting for Piastri’s services is an uncommon sight.
However, whichever way the CRB ultimately rules, Piastri will have to contend with a great deal of pressure.
If he does indeed go to McLaren, expectations will be high, not only because of his lightning progress through the junior ranks, but also because the team went through the ordeal of terminating Daniel Ricciardo’s contract early to clear the way for Piastri.
Meanwhile, if it is ruled that his services belong to Alpine, then how will it impact his relationship with the team? Surely a scenario like this could result in a lack of trust.
Plus, if Piastri does not hit the ground running with impressive performances, people would quickly question whether he is committed or rather forced to drive for a team which he does not want to be with.