Jerome Pugmire, The Associated Press
Racing driver Oscar Piastri assures that his transfer to McLaren was decided “long before” Fernando Alonso’s decision to leave Alpine and free up this seat for the next Formula 1 season.
From 2023, Piastri will be one of two McLaren drivers, under a long-term deal that was endorsed by the F1 Contract Recognition Board on Friday.
Alpine was at odds with the team’s reserve driver Piastri after he said he didn’t want a promotion to Alpine to replace Alonso.
The latter announced on August 1, the day after the Hungarian Grand Prix, that he will not be back with Alpine in 2023. Alonso will join Quebecer Lance Stroll at Aston Martin and replace Sebastian Vettel, who will retire.
Alpine principal owner Otmar Szafnauer said Piastri was in the simulator when he was told he would replace Alonso, and Piastri smiled and was grateful.
Because he wanted to keep the 21-year-old Australian, the matter was taken to the F1 Contract Recognition Board. The court ruled that McLaren had an existing contract on July 4.
“My decision was made long before (Alonso’s departure), which made Alpine’s announcement probably even more confusing and upsetting because we had told the team that I was not going to continue,” he said. said Piastri in an interview published Saturday on the Formula 1 website.
“The announcement (by Alpine) was wrong and it also deprived me of the opportunity to say goodbye properly to everyone at Enstone. I had been with the team for a little over two and a half years now, and for the rest of the team to find out that I was leaving in this way was very upsetting.