From betrayal to reconciliation: The evolving relationship between Alpine and Piastri
Alpine and Piastri have moved on from their past disagreement, but residual issues may linger. Alpine has learned from the situation and adjusted its approach to managing young drivers. Piastri’s rejection of Alpine could be a source of motivation for the team. It remains to be seen how Alpine will handle the situation publicly and privately, and how Piastri will perform in the coming races.
Alpine didn’t hold back in expressing their sense of betrayal after Oscar Piastri turned down a sudden Formula 1 promotion offer from them in favor of McLaren. However, Piastri believes they have learned from the situation and that it’s now in the past. He has no ill will towards Alpine and wishes them well.
Alpine’s leadership previously criticized Piastri, claiming that he lacked integrity, did not share the company’s values, and set a negative precedent that could jeopardize the entire junior program. However, six months later, CEO Laurent Rossi appears to have let go of any resentment towards Piastri. Rossi had sarcastically remarked that Piastri was the greatest driver ever when he refused to allow Alpine to loan him to Williams in 2023, but he no longer wishes to give the impression that he is holding a grudge.
While Piastri and Alpine have moved on from their past disagreement, as the 2023 season commences, there are a few reasons why they may find themselves on opposite sides of the bridge once again, with some residual issues lingering.
The first issue is that the Piastri situation has been revisited in the latest season of the Netflix show Drive to Survive. While the show presents a simplified version of events without mentioning the Contract Recognition Board, it still portrays Alpine as being caught off guard and somewhat complacent. This has led to criticism and ridicule for the team regarding how they handled the situation and how it arose in the first place.
Rossi acknowledges that the Drive to Survive portrayal of the Piastri situation is just one perspective and may not be entirely accurate, although he believes that the show preserves the reality to some extent. He also commends team boss Otmar Szafnauer for his willingness to take responsibility, as shown in the episode. Despite this, Rossi acknowledges that the team may still face criticism and scrutiny due to the show’s portrayal of events.
According to Rossi, Otmar Szafnauer acted with honesty and transparency, while also defending Alpine’s interests with integrity. Rossi believes that the team has nothing to be ashamed of, and this is evident in the Drive to Survive episode. He credits Szafnauer for his conduct, which helped ensure that the team was not portrayed as deceitful or foolish.
Despite Szafnauer’s commendable conduct, the Drive to Survive episode, along with other events such as Fernando Alonso’s defection to Aston Martin, Piastri’s tweet, and the subsequent CRB ruling, continue to highlight Alpine’s vulnerability and lack of preparedness. As a result, moving on from the Piastri situation was never going to be as simple as just finding a replacement and moving forward.
In the Beyond The Grid episode, Rossi offers insights into how his perception of the Piastri situation has changed over time and with the benefit of hindsight.
While Rossi’s comment about loyalty can be interpreted as a subtle criticism, he follows it up with a more measured response regarding driver loyalty as a concept. Rossi acknowledges that loyalty is important, but it can be challenging to combine individual interests with team interests, particularly for young drivers who may not have the experience to weigh the pros and cons effectively. Overall, Rossi suggests that loyalty is a complex issue that requires a nuanced approach.
Rossi clarifies that he does not view drivers as disloyal, as they have their own careers to manage, which is a difficult task considering the limited number of opportunities available and the ferocious nature of the sport. Drivers have a challenging job, and if they have a bad year, they risk losing their position. Therefore, Rossi believes that drivers also need to manage their own interests, which may sometimes come into conflict with the team’s interests.
Despite acknowledging the challenges that drivers face in managing their careers, Rossi suggests that the situation with Piastri could have been handled differently. He claims that he would not have prevented Piastri from leaving if he had come to the team with a more structured proposal, asking for a discussion on his offer and options. The fact that Piastri’s move also caught current McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo by surprise suggests that the situation was unexpected and unanticipated. Rossi’s comments imply that the team could have been better prepared for the possibility of Piastri leaving, avoiding the sour taste that remains.
Despite Rossi’s earlier claim that the Piastri situation could lead to a reconsideration of the junior program, Alpine has not followed through with it. This year, Alpine has strengthened its ranks and has a talented roster of drivers, including a young and credible F1 lineup. However, Rossi acknowledges that the team was not sufficiently prepared to deal with junior drivers contractually, and this has been a learning experience for the team. Rossi expresses sadness that the team now needs to be more corporate and protective when it comes to managing young drivers, indicating that the team has had to adjust its approach to prevent similar situations in the future.
Rossi uses a metaphor to explain the team’s new approach to managing young drivers, likening it to having a contract with one’s children. While one never expects their children to leave suddenly and not return, there is a need to be prepared for such an eventuality. Rossi explains that the team has been forced to be more contractual and protective to prevent similar situations in the future.
When asked if Alpine would consider taking Piastri back in the future, Rossi’s response leaves room for interpretation. He suggests that the team will cross that bridge when they come to it, implying that the possibility is not off the table. However, Rossi also emphasizes that there is no need to hold a grudge, as it would only be detrimental to the team’s goals and objectives. His answer can be interpreted both ways, leaving the door open for a potential reconciliation in the future while also acknowledging the need to move forward from the situation.
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Rossi’s response implies that Alpine does not hold a grudge against Piastri and is content with the current lineup, including Pierre Gasly. However, the team’s true feelings may be put to the test in the future, particularly if tempting opportunities arise that could allow them to gloat or benefit from a situation involving Piastri. As such, it remains to be seen how the team will react if they find themselves in such a scenario in 2023.
Alpine had a disappointing start to the 2023 season at the Bahrain Grand Prix. Aston Martin’s strong performance may have made it difficult for Alpine to achieve its goal of finishing fourth in the championship this season. Additionally, Alfa Romeo’s decision to use one of its cars to take away the fastest lap point from Pierre Gasly shows that Alpine may not be out of reach as they had hoped. Furthermore, Esteban Ocon’s 700 penalties further compounded Alpine’s struggles in the season opener.
While Alpine had a difficult start to the 2023 season, McLaren, and by extension Piastri, had an even worse weekend. The team was close to having both of its cars eliminated in Q1, with a gap of just 0.001s. Piastri was outqualified by a significant margin of half a second, and although there were extenuating circumstances, the gap remains significant. Piastri’s car failed early in the race, while Lando Norris had to pit an incredible six times during the race. These issues compounded McLaren’s struggles and made for a disappointing start to the season for the team.
McLaren is hoping for an upgrade conveyor belt to kick off in Baku next month, which they hope will improve their performance. However, until then, the team may continue to struggle, while Alpine appears to be competitive and could potentially finish ahead of their old rival. Piastri faces a tough challenge going up against a formidable teammate in Lando Norris. While this is not an indictment of Piastri’s abilities, it is likely that he will experience a few more heavy defeats against Norris over the course of the season.
Piastri’s decision to leave Alpine was a move of self-interest and a public rejection of the team. While it is understandable for Piastri to prioritize his own career, this rejection can be a powerful motivational tool for Alpine. The team can use Piastri’s departure as a source of inspiration and motivation, with team talk along the lines of “he didn’t believe in us, but we can prove him wrong.” It is possible to use this motivation without coming across as spiteful or holding a grudge against Piastri, as the team can recognize his right to exercise his agency while still aiming to prove him wrong.
It remains to be seen how Rossi and Szafnauer will handle the situation regarding Piastri publicly and privately. They could choose to steer clear of any remarks about Piastri in public but bring him up in private conversations, or they could allow themselves to make a quip or two. Alternatively, they may fully commit to the ‘what’s done is done’ mantra and focus on moving forward. Ultimately, how they choose to approach the situation will depend on their own personal style and the team’s goals and objectives.
It is possible that both McLaren and Piastri will make significant progress in the coming races, rendering the question of how Alpine handles the situation with Piastri moot. While McLaren had a difficult start to the season in Bahrain, it is too early to say if the team is in a full-blown crisis. Similarly, Piastri looked promising during the weekend, despite being outqualified by his teammate. It is premature to suggest that Piastri will be a dud this season.
It appears that Alpine has started the 2023 season stronger than some of the teams that showed them up publicly last year. Despite the departure of Piastri and Alonso, the team has remained competitive and is in a good position going forward. While Alonso has not shied away from taking parting shots, it is up to Alpine to decide whether to take the high road or twist the knife. Ultimately, the team’s approach will depend on their goals and objectives, as well as their personal style and preferences.
between Alpine and Piastri From betrayal to reconciliation: The evolving relationship F1 2023 between Alpine and Piastri From betrayal to reconciliation: The evolving relationship F1 2023 between Alpine and Piastri From betrayal to reconciliation: The evolving relationship F1 2023 between Alpine and Piastri From betrayal to reconciliation: The evolving relationship F1 2023 between Alpine and Piastri From betrayal to reconciliation: The evolving relationship F1 2023
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