While Alpine F1 boss Otmar Szafnauer hasn’t ruled out collusion between Flavio Briatore, Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber (Piastri’s manager), in the surprise moves of the latest transfers, for some he makes no doubt that it should be seen as “the touch of Briatore”.
That’s the claim of former F1 driver Christian Danner after Szafnauer admitted that a “information sharing” could have actually taken place, allowing Piastri to extricate himself from an Alpine F1 contract in time to sign at McLaren.
Briatore, Alonso and Webber are three friends and the latter two still have business deals and financial interests managed by the former Benetton and Renault boss in F1. So it wouldn’t be impossible to imagine.
While the latest sources suggest the Contract Recognition Board (CRB) has already approved the deal with McLaren, it is believed that Piastri’s contract is only with Alpine’s drivers academy – not the team. of F1 -, his contract has therefore never passed through the CRB. There would therefore be two valid contracts, in a legal way, but concerning the CRB, only that of Piastri with McLaren can be authentic.
“This whole situation is Briatore’s touch, it’s classic Flavio,” says Danner.
“There’s probably a Piastri contract that Flavio skimmed over or even helped write. I’d say there was definitely a clause that allowed Alpine to do that.”
Danner would not be surprised to see “Briatore now involved in Piastri’s career”.
“If he believes in someone, he definitely has the foresight to plan everything in a positive way. Ruthlessly too, which makes sense in this sport. I can imagine Piastri breaking free from Alpine’s grip to to be able to drive for McLaren for two years and then be free for a top team. That’s definitely Briatore’s signature.”
As for Piastri’s loyalty to Alpine F1, Danner doesn’t care.
“He’s not fazed by the level of intrigue surrounding his Formula 1 debut. He knows what comes with a place in F1.”
“He wants to win and nothing else. The rest doesn’t interest him at all. And this Webber-Briatore combination is probably ideal for such drivers, as Michael Schumacher or Fernando Alonso benefited from it.”