Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer has brutally taken aim at Oscar Piastri after the young Aussie’s very public rejection of the F1 team.
Last week the racing world was in stitches after the Australian motor racing driver turned down Alpine after the team had announced his promotion to their starting roster.
The official statement had come with no comment from the Formula Two champ – and it soon became apparent why.
The Australian outed the team, saying the announcement had come without his agreement.
I understand that, without my agreement, Alpine F1 have put out a press release late this afternoon that I am driving for them next year. This is wrong and I have not signed a contract with Alpine for 2023. I will not be driving for Alpine next year.— Oscar Piastri (@OscarPiastri) August 2, 2022
He tweeted: "I understand that, without my agreement, Alpine F1 have put out a press release late this afternoon that I am driving for them next year. This is wrong and I have not signed a contract with Alpine for 2023. I will not be driving for Alpine next year."
It was a bold move, that left Apline looking embarrassing, and one that certainly didn’t sit well with Szafnauer.
The Romanian-American spoke to Spanish publication El Confidencial, slamming Piastri as disloyal considering the investment his team had put into the Australian.
He said: "I expected more loyalty from Oscar than he is showing.
"I started in 1989 in Formula 1 and I've never seen anything like this. And it's not about Formula 1, it's about integrity as a human being.
"For me, the way I grew up, I don't need to sign a piece of paper and then have someone say, 'You're lying, because you signed this.' For me, if you say, 'Hey, help me, I'll help you tomorrow,' there's no way I would go back on my word. No way.
"He should (drive with the) team that has taken care of him, that has taken him to the world championship and, above all, that during the last year has put him in a Formula 1 car so that he would be ready, so that he would know the circuits.
"There should be some loyalty to the fact that we have invested literally millions and millions of euros to prepare him. So I don't understand it either, you should ask him."
A pretty scathing assessment of the Aussie.
The French team had quickly moved to make Piastri their star driver for 2023 after two-time world champion Fernando Alsono’s sudden departure.
Alpine had funded the junior career of Piastri, helping him to win the F3 and F2 championships in successive seasons.
However, it is believed that Piastri is expected to now replace Daniel Ricciardo at McLaren.
Despite the rumours, Szafnauer maintains that Alpine has a ‘binding contract’ with the Australian.
He added: "We have a contract with Piastri, which he signed in November, we have spoken to our lawyers and they have told us that this is a binding contract, so part of that contract allows us to put Oscar in one of our cars in 2023, which is the reason we issued the press release.”
Spicy. Watch this space.
Featured Image Credit: dpa picture alliance / Alamy. PA Images / Alamy.
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