Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer claims that Oscar Piastri “smiled and was thankful” after having been told he will be promoted in 2023.
Following Fernando Alonso’s switch to Aston Martin, Alpine announced that Piastri will replace the Spaniard next year. However, the 21-year-old denied it later. Piastri has reportedly reached an agreement with McLaren.
Szafnauer stated that he told Piastri he will be promoted when the Australian was working in the simulator after the Hungarian GP.
“I told Oscar before the announcement was made,” Szafnauer commented.
“He happened to be in the simulator, so I went and found him, and he smiled and was thankful. We made the release very quickly.”
Szafnauer also explained why Piastri’s comment was absent in the announcement: “Things happened very quickly and we too reacted quickly and didn’t want to go back and forth with his management which is why we put the release out.”
Szafnauer added that Alpine found out about Piastri’s decision from social media.
The Contract Recognition Board is set to have a hearing on the Piastri case on Monday. Szafnauer thinks that the result will be positive for Alpine.
“I’ve seen both sides of the argument. We’re confident that Oscar signed with us back in November and there are certain things that need to be in the contract, and I’m confident they’re in that.”