Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer stated that he expected more loyalty from Oscar Piastri.
Alpine announced this week that Piastri would replace Fernando Alonso in the team in 2023. The statement raised questions as there had not been any comments from the Australian himself. Later on, he denied that he would be at Alpine next year.
The 21-year-old reportedly has an agreement with McLaren, though Alpine claim that Piastri has to drive for them, according to the contract. Szafnauer explained why Alpine made the controversial announcement on Tuesday.
“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,” he told El Confidencial.
“There is also an option for 2024 and the possibility for us to ‘loan’ the driver to another team. We wanted Fernando with us for one more year and then a ‘loan’ of Oscar for 2023.
“I have always said in all my press conferences that Piastri would be in Formula 1 in 2023 and it is because I knew he could be in our car or in another car, on loan, if Fernando had stayed.
“But Alonso, for whatever reason – and I think I know the reasons, although you should ask him – he goes to Aston Martin. So, we started to finalize the agreement with Piastri, and instead of giving him away, we decided to put him in our car. Hence, the statement.”
When asked why Piastri refused to stay at Alpine, Szafnauer replied: “I think it’s a question for Piastri, because I don’t understand it either.”
Szafnauer was also frustrated with the Australian’s behavior, claiming that he showed a lack of loyalty to the team.
“I expected more loyalty from Piastri.
“He should have it with that 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.
“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.
“It could happen in ice hockey or soccer, it doesn’t matter. But you don’t do that. He signed a piece of paper, a document, saying he would do something different.
“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.
“You did everything I asked you to do and now I promise you that if you do this, I will do this. I don’t need a piece of paper where it says: ‘With a clause, I can get out of here.'”