Alpine F1 will reportedly go to the London High Court if Oscar Piastri refuses to drive for them next season, looking for millions in financial compensation.
Otmar Szafnauer told Reuters that Alpine is prepared to take this dispute over Piastri to court, outlining why the team should be entitled to compensation:
"Going to the High Court is over 90% certain that's what we'll do.
"If the CRB [F1's Contract Recognition Board] says 'your license 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."
The Alpine team principal has spoken at length about the significant financial investment into Piastri's career, including the several F1 tests the team has orchestrated for the 21-year-old.
Understandably, Szafnauer and Alpine are not enthusiastic about the prospect of Piastri driving for McLaren in 2023. After all, no team spends millions on a young driver's career expecting another team to reap the rewards.
"We haven't sat down with the accountants to figure out everything we've spent. We will have to do that if we go to the High Court", said Szafnauer.
Alpine taking this Piastri case to court would be another shocking turn of events, as most in F1 circles were confident that Piastri would spend 2023 at Williams before being promoted to the French squad.
This idea was prevalent before Alonso's departure to Aston Martin, which opened up a seat at Alpine and initially seemed it would fast-track Piastri's ascension to the manufacturer team.
Evidently, the situation has become far more complicated following Oscar Piastri's public statement that he will not drive for Alpine in F1 next season.
Alpine seems to have overestimated its leverage over Alonso and Piastri in contract negotiations, who both had alternatives willing to offer more favourable terms.
Piastri has certainly shown great bravery to make such aggressive manoeuvres for 2023.
Like Alpine, Piastri expected Alonso to sign a contract extension with the Entone team and was therefore motivated to find another team to join for 2023 rather than spend a season at Williams.
The case of Piastri's contract will be convoluted and detailed, so the outcome remains unclear.