McLaren have won their tug-of-war with Alpine over the services of Oscar Piastri for 2023.
With the Australian driver having reportedly had two valid contracts for next season, the situation went to the Contract Recognition Board to determine who had the stronger claim.
The ruling has gone in McLaren’s favour and so Piastri will drive for them as team-mate to Lando Norris, with Daniel Ricciardo having been ousted by the team for 2023.
Alpine had originally announced the 21-year-old as replacement for Aston Martin-bound Fernando Alonso, but Piastri quickly knocked down that statement with a social media rebuttal.
A statement from the FIA read: “The FIA’s Driver Contract Recognition Board (CRB) was set up to deal with the registration of contracts for drivers in the FIA Formula One World Championship, and any issues related to the priority of contracts between drivers and Formula 1 teams over the same time period.
“The CRB consists of four persons, each having a different nationality, and four alternate members, all of whom being qualified lawyers of international standing and experience and with suitable experience in contract law.
“The Board is appointed by the current President of the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce.
“A Tribunal appointed by the Contract Recognition Board held a meeting on 29 August 2022 when counsel for Alpine Racing Limited, McLaren Racing Limited and Mr Oscar Piastri were heard. The Tribunal has issued a Unanimous Decision that the only Contract to be recognised by the Board is the Contract between McLaren Racing Limited and Mr Piastri dated 4 July 2022.
“Mr Piastri is entitled to drive for McLaren Racing Limited for the 2023 and 2024 seasons. The members of the Tribunal comprised Ian Hunter QC presiding, Prof. Klaus Peter Berger, Matthieu de Boisseson and Stefano Azzali.”
#F1 CRB ruling: "The Tribunal has issued a Unanimous Decision that the only Contract to be recognised by the Board is the Contract between McLaren Racing Limited and Mr Piastri dated 4 July 2022."
So, Piastri's McLaren contract was signed the day after the British Grand Prix… pic.twitter.com/1MCfjCNHca
— PlanetF1 (@Planet_F1) September 2, 2022
As soon as the verdict was announced, McLaren announced they had signed Piastri on a multi-year contract, confirming they will start next season with a driver line-up comprising a combined age of just 44 years – whereas Alonso, with whom Alpine are parting company, is 41 on his own.
Having lost Piastri as well as Alonso, Alpine will now have to secure a driver to partner Esteban Ocon, with Pierre Gasly having become the hot favourite to complete an all-French pairing.