Heads roll at Alpine following the loss of Oscar Piastri to rival team McLaren


Alpine has laid off a key legal figure who was largely responsible for the loss of reserve driver Oscar Piastri to rival team McLaren earlier this year.

Associated with Alpine as a junior since 2019, it was presumed that Piastri would be promoted to the grid to replace Fernando Alonso at the French team next season.

However in August, Piastri sensationally rejected the team’s announcement as Alonso’s successor before signing with McLaren.

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Unknowingly to Alpine at the time, Piastri had already signed a two-year deal to join McLaren from 2023, having never agreed to a potential race drive with Alpine past 2022 after repeated errors in the contract process.

According to the Contract Recognition Board’s ruling in the Oscar Piastri and McLaren vs Alpine case, numerous drawbacks on the latter’s behalf led Piastri to look elsewhere for a race seat.

As a result of the mismanagement, Alpine has sacked its director of legal affairs Benedicte Mercer.

The Contract Recognition Board found Mercer was ultimately responsible for failing to draw up a contract that would have tied the successful junior to a race seat as part of Alpine’s “road map”.

Under the team’s 2023-2026 proposal, Piastri would be sent out on loan to Williams for 2023 and potentially 2024. With the prospect of having to wait until 2025 for a race seat, Piastri and his manager Mark Webber believed that a role at McLaren was the best way forward.

With changing circumstances, this role soon morphed into a full-time drive alongside Lando Norris as Daniel Ricciardo agreed to an early termination of his contract with the Woking-based team.

All companies based in the UK, including Alpine Racing Limited, must file documents with the government agency Companies House when there is a change in directors.

In documents filed on November 8, Alpine terminated Mercer’s employment, although no further details were provided.

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