Alpine F1: Rossi finally trusts the fiasco with Piastri and Alonso

Alpine F1: Rossi finally trusts the fiasco with Piastri and Alonso

Laurent Rossi, the CEO of Alpine, has been very quiet since Fernando Alonso opted to join Aston Martin F1 and Oscar Piastri said no to the French team, which trained him, to commit legally to McLaren.

The Frenchman finally spoke and expressed his feelings today at Monza, on behalf of the official F1 website.

“We wanted Fernando to continue with us as an endurance driver and/or in the Dakar. We talked about that a lot last year. Why did we only offer him two years? The option with Oscar. Fernando had the desire to drive more time in the F1″. , which we couldn’t do, or we would have lost Oscar. It didn’t make sense to us. Most likely we couldn’t follow the other conditions that were offered (by Aston Martin) either.”

“So with Fernando we would have loved to continue. He’s an incredible champion, he’s going to become a legend of our brand, but it didn’t work out and that’s life. We’ll stay on good terms. He’s an exceptional champion, he’s a gentleman, he keeps doing “Fantastic job for us despite signing for Aston Martin next year. We’re sad to part, but we’re still family. Such is life. It’s a blow to lose a champion, but it happens. Crazy transfer seasons, a Sometimes they move like that.”

Rossi found Piastri “disappointing”

On the other hand, Rossi admits: “For Oscar, it wasn’t planned. Frankly, it’s disappointing.”

“We fulfilled our commitment to Óscar very quickly, because we exercised our option on November 15, with a contractual document that linked us and placed him as a reservist. km of driving an F1 all year round, and we were going to find him a seat for 2023 and 2024″.

“That’s exactly what we did. We announced it as a reserve the next day. We quickly came up with a training program and a 5,000km test programme, which started in February alongside Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon, was a serious training programme. You drive alongside two F1 drivers, you learn from them.”

“He did 3,700km before August. We could have easily done 5,000km. We gave him full access to the team, briefings, technical meetings and he was with me for most of the Sundays following the race. Not only was he a reserve, but he would have been the most trained rookie in history. He knew how the team worked, how an F1 driver is supposed to work in the team. We feel that we have fulfilled our commitments and have even gone further.”

“We hired a person just to find him a place [dans une autre équipe], because we wanted to do it right. At the end of April, we found him a place with Williams.”

An almost concrete agreement with Williams

Rossi therefore confirms that, very soon, Alpine F1 had an agreement to take Piastri elsewhere. But when it became clear to Piastri that Alonso would be at Alpine in 2023 and possibly 2024, the Australian began weighing his options elsewhere on the grid, even though Alpine had Williams’ seat on the table. Alpine then realized that McLaren had made him an offer, the details of which were unclear to Rossi at the time.

“When the Williams opportunity was about to become a concrete deal, so much so that bucket seat trim was planned, Piastri’s management team told us: ‘we have a possible opportunity at McLaren’. It was a bit disappointing. “It felt a bit odd to us, as we expected a bit more fidelity considering how much we had invested. He didn’t say he was leaving, he said he had a chance.”

“Then we saw in July, the 6th I think, that [Daniel] Ricciardo confirmed to stay at McLaren for the following year (but Piastri had signed with McLaren on the 4th, editor’s note). So we thought there was interest, but there wouldn’t be a bucket. There may have been a chance at McLaren, but the door is closing, so Oscar is still racing for us. That explains why we decided to promote it.”

“Othmar [Szafnauer] he saw it, told him and we announced it. We never knew for sure that he had signed. He never told us. We still think the Williams seat was great, a great opportunity to learn with a little less pressure – a very good team to learn from, very experienced, able to develop talents like George Russell.”

“But we could understand that he was attracted by the prospect of a better sporting challenge. We felt that when we had the opportunity to offer him a seat, thanks to us, because there was no better option: Ricciardo had to stay.”

“Nous avons agi très logiquement, conformément à nore engagement envers lui. De notre point de vue, c’est une histoire simple et très linéaire. Nous avons été tellement engagés. Je ne thought pas que nous aurions pu donner plus à un pilote, to be honest.”

“We offered him contracts” that he rejected

Therefore, Alpine F1 was naive on the contract side, which was confirmed by the CRB. Errors that will not be repeated, agrees Rossi. But he reveals other things, which precede all this.

“He never signed any contracts that we offered him. We offered him contracts several times. They were never signed. Probably because he already had McLaren in mind. We couldn’t hold back because he hasn’t signed a contract with us. I was expecting more loyalty.”

“We made mistakes, we made legal technical mistakes. We left the door ajar by not forcing him to sign a contract so strict that he couldn’t get out of it. Why did we do that? I never would have thought that when you give someone so much, when you give them a training, a reserve role, a seat in a fellow team, they won’t take it after being supported for so many years and winning the championship because of your support.”

“Like Russell before him, who went to Williams before going back to Mercedes, like Leclerc who went to Sauber before going back to Ferrari, like Verstappen and like Vettel, who raced for Toro Rosso before driving for Red Bull, all They were part of a junior team before moving up higher.”

“I’m a bit surprised that Oscar thought it was better or better than Williams. I can understand from a sporting perspective that McLaren could be more interesting based on pure results on track than Williams, but we didn’t expect that after so long. support, so much loyalty, they would use that back door to sign him and get a better contract for themselves. Those are not the values ​​we have.”

“This is how I see history. Of course we made mistakes, otherwise we wouldn’t be here to talk about it, but we feel that we have stayed very true to our commitment, our values ​​and our words with Oscar. But I would say that things happen for a reason. We don’t share the same vision of things, and maybe we don’t share the same values ​​either, so maybe it’s better this way, to separate.”

Alpine F1 ‘will be careful’ before signing another driver

It remains to be seen who will have the second seat. Can Rossi trust this issue? Does Pierre Gasly really have a chance? Where will Jack Doohan be promoted?

“We need someone to help develop the team, to help develop the car. We need a driver who is experienced enough and efficient enough to score points straight away and also take the team with him. These are criteria that we look at.”

“It has to fit into the 100-race plan to win. There will be tough times. I’m not stupid, I know we’re going to have tough times. The idea is to keep progressing. We’re fourth force on the grid and our seat is in high demand. We’ll take our time.”

“We don’t want to rush into the decision. It’s a process that Otmar leads, because he knows what’s best for the team. We take the advice of our engineers. The driver is important, but the car is by far the most important.”

“There are a lot of good drivers. Helmut Marko mentioned Pierre, why not? He is a very good driver, he would be a good candidate for us.”

“Jack is also under consideration. We believe in him, he has shown a lot of potential, especially lately, he responds at the right time. He is a great person, he is fast, his father is also a champion I see myself.” and someone I admire. They are great guys. He is in our plans. One way or another, we’ll try to get him into an F1 at some point. But again, we’ll be careful this time. “

“As for timing, we’ll see what the picture is at the end of September. We’ll have more clarity on all the options. By then I guess we’ll make a decision.”


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