It is a bad month to be a PR representative within the motorsports industry. If the Alex Palou saga wasn’t bad enough, it seems Alpine F1 and Oscar Piastri have not learned from the conflict that occurred less than a month ago in IndyCar.
As previously reported, Chip Ganassi Racing reported via social media that they had signed Alex Palou to a contract keeping him with the team through 2023. Palou quickly jumped on Twitter and refuted the allegations, stating that he did not sign a contract nor approve the media post and was instead leaving Ganassi for Arrows McLaren. This conflict has led to Chip Ganassi Racing suing Palou for breach of contract. This suit is currently ongoing.
In almost the same fashion as seen within IndyCar, Alpine F1 has posted via social media that they have signed their developmental driver and Formula 2 champion Oscar Piastri to move up to F1 in 2023. Similar to Palou, Piastri released a tweet refuting the news stating, “I understand that without my agreement Alpine F1 have put out a press release late this afternoon that I am driving for them next year. This is wrong and I have not signed a contract with Alpine for 2023. I will not be driving for Alpine next year.” (Piastri)
Similarly, in both cases, we are unsure what is truly occurring. Within the Palou case, the team has maintained that Palou is signed to be a driver at Chip Ganassi Racing in 2023, while Palou has stated that he has no obligations to Ganassi and will leave for McLaren at the end of the season. While we currently have less information in the Piastri case, it is clear that the logic runs parallel to what has been said in the IndyCar case. It is bizarre how this error could occur twice in such a short time span.
The news comes as longtime Alpine driver Fernando Alonso announced that he was leaving the team to join Aston Martin F1 Team. Alpine were quick with their announcement making it less than 24 hours after Alonso’s.
Oscar Piastri last drove for Prema Racing in Formula 2 as well as being a part of Alpine’s developmental program. While Piastri has not raced in F1, he holds an impressive resume, including winning the 2020 F3 Championship and the 2021 F2 championship. Given Piastri’s results in lower series, it is clear that several F1 teams would be interested in recruiting his talent.
We will see in the coming days how Alpine F1 and Piastri will decide to handle this conflict. It is important to note that Alpine F1 is based in the United Kingdom, and its parent company Renault s.a.s., is based in France, while Piastri is a citizen of Australia. If a suit is filed, it will be interesting where it will be held.
Jack Bradley is currently a Law school student at Duquesne Univesity School of Law and alum of Georgetown University (MPS) and Penn State University (BA). Jack is also the Co-founder and President of Poppy Packs a 501c3 charity and former Head of Marketing and Communications for Norm Benning Racing.
Piastri, Oscar Twitter. Aug 2.2022.