Otmar Szafnauer makes defiant legal claim after Oscar Piastri snubs Alpine for Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren seat

Alpine reserve driver Oscar Piastri was announced by Alpine as its new full-time driver for the next season following news that Fernando Alonso would team up with Lance Stroll at Aston Martin.

However, the driver has taken to social media to refute the claim of Alpine and even stated in clear terms that he will not race with them after Alonso leaves at the end of the current campaign.

After news of Fernando Alonso moving to Aston Martin was confirmed, Alpine had released a short statement on its social media account that confirmed the promotion of its reserve driver.

However, Piastri’s denial has led to further speculation that he is gunning for a move to McLaren, where he could replace Daniel Ricciardo.

“I understand that, without my agreement, Alpine F1 have put out a press release late this afternoon that I am driving for them next year,” Piastri wrote.

“This is wrong and I have not signed a contract with Alpine for 2023. I will not be driving for Alpine next year.”

Alonso seemed to catch everyone by surprise when he announced that he would be leaving the team to take the retiring Sebastian Vettel’s position at Aston Martin.

Where will Piastri go?

Oscar Piastri. Credit: formula1.com

There was little expectation of Alonso moving from Alpine before that and it is believed that this had prompted Piastri to indulge in discussions with other teams over a full-time position for the 2023 season.

Many believed that Williams would be the best option for Piastri, but he has instead chosen to pursue the more lucrative option at McLaren given Ricciardo’s struggles since joining the team.

In an attempt to dissuade McLaren, Alpine stated that Piastri had a legal obligation to feature for them next season if the need arose.

However, the team may have missed the deadline to offer Piastri a contract and that deal might not hold value anymore.

Szafnauer hits back after Piastri snub

Otmar Szafnauer. Credit: thesportsrush.com

Speaking about Piastri’s proposed move to McLaren, Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer said, “I’m not privy to whatever pre-arrangements he has with McLaren, if any at all.

“I hear the same rumours that you do in the pitlane. But what I do know is that he does have contractual obligations to us. And we do to him. We’ve been honouring those obligations all year. Those obligations, last through ’23, and possibly in ’24, if some options are taken up.

“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 programme of 5000 kilometres, 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.

“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.”

A legal battle over the signature of a driver who does not currently feature in F1 is expected over the next few days, but it is understood that Piastri’s feelings on the subject are more than clear and he will push for a way to make McLaren his home for 2023.

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