Nico Rosberg tells Alpine ‘this is a business as well’ over Oscar Piastri case

Jamie Woodhouse
Oscar Piastri sitting in the Alpine F1 car. Canada June 2022

2016 F1 champ Nico Rosberg feels some sympathy for Alpine over what happened with Oscar Piastri, but said this is a “business” after all.

When Fernando Alonso made the call to swap Alpine for Aston Martin from 2023, Alpine thought they had the ideal solution in mind, that being their reserve driver and 2021 Formula 2 champion Piastri.

However, the Aussie would respond to a press release confirming that promotion by denying that he would race for Alpine next season, his case going to Formula 1’s Contract Recognition Board where his path was cleared to join McLaren from 2023, as a replacement for Daniel Ricciardo.

Alpine accepted that they must take lessons from how they go about handling contracts with their drivers in future, but made their disappointment in Piastri clear, team principal Otmar Szafnauer accusing him of lacking “integrity”.

 

 

But, while Rosberg can understand why Alpine are not exactly thrilled, he stressed that Piastri must do what is best for his career, and a move to McLaren is certainly not an offer to pass on.

Asked by Sky Sports F1 whether he feels any sympathy at all for Alpine, or whether they are fully to blame, Rosberg replied: “Of course I have sympathy, because Otmar was touching on all the ethical matters and honourable things.

“But as we know, this is a business as well, and for Oscar when the opportunity came, he’s going to take it, I mean a race seat at McLaren boom, you as a young driver, you have got to go for it.

“You can’t just wait around at Alpine and see what [Fernando] Alonso does and see what they decide.”

To that point, Rosberg says Alpine must also blame themselves not tying Piastri into an “absolutely rock solid” contract.

“It’s just a mistake on the legal front of Alpine,” Rosberg suggested. “When you have a young driver like that, you have to make it absolutely rock solid the contract for five to 10 years if you invest so much money, and I can’t believe that they’ve left those loopholes in there.”

2009 World Champion Jenson Button said that he initially took a rather dim view on Piastri’s position in this saga, but having heard how the Aussie described what went down with Alpine, he now sees that there are two sides to every story.

“Alpine is also a manufacturer, so you normally look at that as a positive,” said Button. “But I think he’s looked at the past with McLaren and also how they’ve improved since those really difficult years when I was racing a McLaren.

“And I think he understands it’s a team for the future. And I think it really is. But you know, I was pretty hard on the way that it was handled with Piastri as well, probably more on Piastri’s side.

“But there’s always two sides to every story and hearing Piastri’s comments about how it went down with the Alpine team, it’s like, ‘oh, okay, I kind of get it now’.”