Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer stated that Oscar Piastri is contractually obliged to stay at Alpine as the seat in the team is now available.
Piastri’s plans beyond 2022 depended on Fernando Alonso’s decision. It appeared as if the Spaniard would sign a new deal with Alpine. Given that, Piastri and his manager Mark Webber reportedly had an agreement with McLaren as Alpine seemed to have been able to get him the seat at Williams only.
However, Alonso decided to sign a multi-year contract with Aston Martin which meant that the Alpine seat became available. Szafnauer revealed that the Australian would not be able to compete for another team in that case.
“I’m not privy to whatever pre-arrangements he has with McLaren, if any at all,” he said.
“But I hear the same rumors that you do in the pit lane. But what I do know is that he does have contractual obligations to us. And we do to him. And we’ve been honoring those obligations all year.
“And those obligations, last through ’23, and possibly in ’24, if some options are taken up.
“And our obligations to him this year was to be a reserve driver, to also put him in last year’s car for a significant amount of time. We’re well over half that program of 5000 kilometers which isn’t insignificant, in last year’s car, in preparation for a race next year.
“Also FP1s, simulation work, and we’ve been performing those obligations on both sides. So he’s been performing, we’ve been performing.
“So therefore we do have a legal contract with him into the future for ’23. And if an option is taken up, for ’24. So I don’t know what he’s done with McLaren. Like I said, I’m not privy to that.”
Szafnauer also commented on Piastri’s possible reluctance to drive for Williams.
“The contractual terms, those details we don’t like to disclose but it was on the team’s side to say, not on the driver’s side.
“It is true that every racing car driver wants to drive for the best team possible.
“And if you’re posed with choices of perhaps a top of the midfield team versus, somebody that isn’t there, of course, you’re going to choose the team that has better potential in the future. So that was a consideration.
“But if you know if your choice is driving in F1, or sitting out another year, I would imagine you’re going to choose driving in F1.
“Now that there’s a bit of clarity as Fernando has chosen to go to Aston, Oscar’s choice isn’t to be placed somewhere else, like Williams, as opposed to a leading midfield team.
“Once that choice is your choice in front of you, I can understand it. But otherwise, I can’t understand it, you know what I mean?
“We need to now like I said, progress this, this only happened yesterday. It’s now Tuesday. So we will sit down and progress what our future driver line-ups going be. And I would imagine the choices aren’t different.
“There shouldn’t be any complications. If everyone is true to the agreements that they signed back only a few months ago, we should be able to move forward with the agreements that we have in place.”