The Alpine and McLaren teams both have a claim over the Australian’s services for 2023. They are obliged by the Concorde agreement to comply with the CRB’s decision and not pursue further legal action in an attempt to change this decision.
Formed in the wake of the controversy resulting from Michael Schumacher’s move from Jordan and Benetton and the latter’s subsequent ousting of Roberto Moreno, the CRB generally operates quietly in the background, only making headlines in case highly publicized dispute.
It is referenced in the FIA Sporting Regulations under Appendix 5, but this section is actually empty, with a note stating “for the exclusive use of competitors entered in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship”.
All the details of how it works are written into the Concorde and are therefore not widely known, even within the F1 paddock.
The CRB exists independently of the FIA. Its role is to tell the governing body which team has a valid contract with a driver and is entitled to hold a superlicense in their name.
Its day-to-day function is a repository for all F1 race, reserve and test driver contracts, or at least the key sections – teams are not necessarily required to submit all documents, as full contracts are complex and cover marketing issues and soon.
When a dispute arises, three lawyers meet and review the evidence of all parties. They are required to provide a result within three days of the hearing.
Two of CRB’s most famous cases have seen a driver’s original team win and the team hoping to poach him lose. It happened when David Coulthard tried to leave Williams for McLaren in 1995, and when Jenson Button wanted to move from BAR to Williams a decade later.
David Coulthard stayed with Williams in 1995, but moved to McLaren the following year
Picture by: Motorsport Images
One man who has experience with the CRB process – and got the result he wanted – is Timo Glock. In the days leading up to the video calls, her audition was conducted in person. As is often the case, the dispute was over the details of an option.
“I was a test driver at BMW Sauber in 2007,” the German told Motorsport.com. “And then I got an offer for a racing seat at Toyota, and BMW had to take the option of putting me in a racing seat, which they did. But at this point they said that they had done it.
“I don’t even remember how many guys were sitting in the room, but there were lawyers involved looking both ways. Everyone has to make their statement. BMW has put its opinion on the table. And we had our opinion. And then they clearly make the decision.
“They decided there was no offer from BMW for a seat, I have one from Toyota and I am free to go. our point of view and that of the CRB the situation was clear.
“They wanted to keep me in reserve, but in the end there was no seat anyway, they didn’t take the option they had on me. So it was quite easy, and it was done quickly. I think Monday it might take a little longer!
Glock says it was a good process: “If you have issues like this, and you have some sort of clear perspective from an outside lawyer or from the board, which clearly has no favor, and it’s just complying with the legal regulations, I think that’s fine, otherwise you’d be fighting forever.
“It’s going to be interesting how they decide Piastri and what kind of legal situation they’re in. Each side has their own point of view.”
Glock’s move to Toyota resulted in a racing seat for 2008
Photo by: Sutton Images
If Alpine wins the CRB case, it doesn’t necessarily mean Piastri will be racing for the Enstone team in 2023. Given the animosity surrounding his attempts to move to McLaren, it’s obvious the relationship has soured so much. deteriorated that in fact forcing him to drive would make little sense to either party. In this case, Alpine would have the option of naming its price and selling it to McLaren.
However, Alpine could in theory also attract interest from other teams who might want to sign Piastri, or swap him with someone who has a contract elsewhere, such as Pierre Gasly.
If McLaren are unable to offload Piastri, either via the CRB decision or a subsequent deal with Alpine, they will have to find someone else to replace Daniel Ricciardo.
If Alpine loses, it is also possible that legal action will follow, but not in terms of pursuing their claim on their services. Team boss Otmar Szafnauer has indicated that Alpine will consider a claim for damages to recover funds spent on its testing programs etc.