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Szafnauer Expecting Piastri Contract Battle to go to London High Court

The BWT Alpine F1 Team are expecting a battle within the London High Court if Oscar Piastri opts not to honour his contract with the team in 2023, according to Otmar Szafnauer.

Piastri was announced to race for Alpine in place of the departing Fernando Alonso earlier this month, only for the Australian to deny he would be moving up from his role of reserve driver amid rumours of an imminent move to the McLaren F1 Team.

McLaren are rumoured to be bringing in Piastri in place of Daniel Ricciardo despite Alpine claiming a contract is in place for him to partner Esteban Ocon next season, and Szafnauer says the courts are the likely destination for the battle should the twenty-one-year-old fail to honour his contract with the Enstone-based team.

Szafnauer, the Team Principal at Alpine, has already contacted Formula 1’s Contract Recognition Board (CRB) after Piastri’s intentions were revealed, and should the Australian decide not to race for them, compensation will be sought.

“Going to the High Court is over 90% certain that’s what we’ll do,” Szafnauer is quoted as saying on Reuters. 

“If the CRB says ‘your licence is only valid at Alpine’, and then he (Piastri) says ‘that’s great but I’m never driving for them, I’ll just sit out a year’, then you’ve got to go to the High Court for compensation.”

Alpine/Renault have backed Piastri for the past few years, overseeing his consecutive championship triumphs in Formula Renault Eurocup, FIA Formula 3 and FIA Formula 2, and have also given him opportunities behind the wheel of Formula 1 cars to prepare him for the next step.

Szafnauer says they will need to sit down with their accountants to work out what they’ve spent on the Australian if they go to court in order to finalise their claim for compensation.

“We haven’t sat down with the accountants to figure out everything we’ve spent,” said the American.  “We will have to do that if we go to the High Court.”

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