Alpine vow to prove Piastri ‘made wrong choice’
By Ian Parkes
Saturday 18th February, 2023 - 7:30am
Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer has vowed to prove Oscar Piastri “made the wrong choice” in opting to join F1 rival McLaren.
One of the most controversial stories of the 2022 Formula 1 season involved the furore surrounding Piastri’s move from Alpine to McLaren.
After supporting Piastri throughout his junior career, Alpine believed it had a water-tight contract with the 21-year-old when it decided to promote him into an F1 race seat following Fernando Alonso’s defection to Aston Martin.
In the background, however, Piastri and manager Mark Webber had already signed a deal with McLaren knowing the agreement with Alpine did not hold water.
The matter was eventually resolved by F1’s Contract Recognition Board who sided in McLaren’s favour, allowing Melburnian Piastri to join the Woking-based team as its replacement for the axed Daniel Ricciardo.
The move now pits McLaren and Piastri in direct competition with Alpine for what is again likely to be a battle for fourth place in the constructors’ standings, one the latter won by 14 points last season.
Asked by Fox Sports at the launch of the A523 whether he had moved on from the Piastri saga and what he had learned from the situation, Szafnauer replied: “Number one, you’ve got to have an iron-clad contract.
“Number two, just make the team attractive, and I think we are, which is why Jack (Doohan) wants to be a part of our team.
“I wish Oscar good luck but it’s for us to prove he made the wrong choice.
“We just have to get more competitive, work hard, add performance to the car, and do well on track.”
Piastri now “fully focused” on McLaren
From Piastri’s perspective, he has firmly put the matter behind him and is solely concentrated on his rookie season with McLaren.
Speaking to invited media at the launch of MCL60, including Speedcafe.com, Piastri said: “It was obviously an experience last year.
“Once we went through the hearing, and all of that came out in our favour, it was then about how the exit from Alpine would look.
“And then once that happened, and after the season ended and for the post-season test, I was fully focused on McLaren.
“It was nice to get that post-season test in, and now I’ve been able to embed myself properly with the team, I’m now looking forward to my debut year with them.”
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