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Piastri gives insight into "upsetting" Alpine saga

NEWS STORY
03/09/2022

Now free to join McLaren, Oscar Piastri has given insight into the extraordinary situation that dominated the summer break.

With tongue firmly in cheek, we had previously suggested that with an eye on the drama-driven narrative of Drive to Survive the result of the Contract Recognition Board's hearing into Oscar Piastri's future would be revealed during Sunday's formation lap.

As it happened, the result came two days earlier, the findings revealed during a convenient 15 minute delay to the start of FP2.

With all four member of the CRB finding in favour of McLaren, reigning F2 champion, Oscar Piastri is now free to join the Woking team, and while there remains intense speculation as to how this curious saga came about in the first place, the Australian gave his side of things.

In terms of speculation that it was Fernando Alonso that kick-started the affair, Piastri was keen to put the record straight.

"My decision was made well in advance, which made Alpine's announcement probably even more confusing and upsetting because we had told the team that I wasn't going to continue," he tells the official F1 website.

"It was quite upsetting," he admits, "as the announcement was false and it also denied me the opportunity to properly say goodbye to everyone at Enstone. I had been with the team for a bit over two-and-a-half years, and for the rest of the team to find out I was leaving in that manner was very upsetting. I still haven't had the opportunity to say goodbye and it's something I want to do to show my gratitude to all the men and women at Enstone."

Referring to the visit from (team boss) Otmar Szafnauer to inform him he had the drive for 2023, whilst working on the team's simulator, Piastri admits: "That was a bizarre and frankly upsetting episode.

"It was done publicly in front of some members of the team who were oblivious to the situation and I didn't want to cause a scene in front of them.

"Once we were in private, I told Otmar what our position was and what he had been told multiple times before that. It was very surprising to me to make that announcement.

In terms of his reaction on social media to Alpine's announcement and his insistence that no contract had been signed and the outright denial that would not be driving for the French outfit, he said: "It was the biggest moment of my career and probably my life up to now.

"To have that falsely announced was something my management and I felt we had to correct and there was also potential legal implications if we didn't deny the announcement.

"It was not intended to be pointed or in any way anything more than factual. The last line was quite a strong one, but with the CRB ruling, it shows it was purely a fact."

Like many, Piastri insists that Alpine got it wrong, and as it dithered over a decision on his future, which the French team claims was linked to Alonso's plans, he was free to commit to McLaren.

"The lack of clarity around my future, and ultimately a breakdown in trust, I felt the very attractive offer of McLaren and the positive dealings with them thus far were all reasons why I felt McLaren was where I was best off for the future," he said.

"The CRB ruling has confirmed I didn't have a contract for the 2023 season with Alpine. I was free to choose my destiny, and I felt McLaren was a great opportunity. They were very straightforward and very keen and enthusiastic to have me. To be completely honest, there was a lack of clarity around my future at Alpine.

 They publicly stated they wished to continue with Fernando for at least one or two more years. I respect that. But after spending the year out, my hopes were firmly set on an Alpine seat and the lack of clarity and, similarly to Fernando, a bit of a strange feeling in negotiations, it didn't feel like it was the right decision for me to stay."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 05/09/2022 18:22

"@Endre, well put.
Ricciardo could not know about the Piastri deal any sooner than the deal with Piastri was signed, stamp licked and sent in case Alpine got wind of the situation and through their toys out of the pram.
That would have been done very publicly going by Alpine's behaviour thus far.
"

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2. Posted by Endre, 03/09/2022 22:52

"I can't understand how, after reading all the facts, could anyone believe that Piastri is in the wrong or played Alpine. If anything, Alpine tried to play him, like someone trying to hold on to a mistress by promising marriage while going to counseling with his wife, trying to save his marriage ... Lets not forget that at the time he signed with McLaren, Alpine was courting Alonso for one or two more years and there was no done deal placing him with another team either, while he (as confirmed by the CRB) had no contract with Alpine. He made the decision that absolutely anyone with a half brain would have made.

McLaren's behavior is an entirely different issue though. While I agree that it wasn't working with Daniel and they needed to move on, it would have been nice to inform him in time rather then letting him believe in his future with them."

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3. Posted by Mad Matt, 03/09/2022 15:20

"Depends who you believe, I read elsewhere that Alpine tried to play him and he got fed up waiting around.....

I don't know him and only remember seeing a few of his previous races but it's beginning to look to me as if Alpine wanted to hold on to him 'just in case' and he wanted something definite and made it clear he wanted to move on:

"Once we were in private, I told Otmar what our position was and what he had been told multiple times before that. It was very surprising to me to make that announcement.""

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4. Posted by KKK, 03/09/2022 12:27

"In my view he played Alpine. I dont think anyone will trust him in the future, if he flops (and it all depends what McLaren gives him as a car) he will be dumped, as swiftly as Ricciardo. They wont have a "leader" in the team, to tell them what needs to be done. I wander if Lando is looking elsewhere ? Wouldnt blame him."

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