Alpine boss Szafnauer responds to CRB ruling and Piastri’s ‘bizarre and upsetting’ comments

Alpine team chief Otmar Szafnauer said on Saturday he believed the Contract Recognition Board ruling regarding their reserve driver Oscar Piastri was “50/50” after hearing McLaren’s arguments. The boss from the Alps explained the side of his team’s history, talked about Piastri’s future and responded to Piastri’s comments which were posted in an exclusive interview with F1.com.

The spotlight on Saturday morning in Zandvoort was on Szafnauer after it was announced Friday that Piastri will be a McLaren driver next season, as per CRB ruling in their favor. Szafnauer previously said he was “confident” that the sentence would fall on his side.

EXCLUSIVE: Piastri joins McLaren, leaves Alpine and makes his F1 debut

“Well, moving forward, I didn’t know all the arguments on the other side,” Szafnauer said. “After that, I mean, it took four days, as everyone knows. There are good discussions on both sides and on leaving I thought it was about 50/50; as it turned out they did not come out in our favor. So later, no, I would have accepted either way.

As for Piastri’s future with the Alpine – and whether he will continue his role as reserve driver for the rest of 2022 – Szafnauer replied: “Well, he’s with us this weekend, doing the work on the simulator. , and that will be decided and will continue this weekend – only a couple of days left today and tomorrow and Monday we will meet with him and decide how to move forward.

“We will decide on Monday. I don’t want to think about it here because there are more considerations to make ”.

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F2 champion Piastri will join McLaren as a replacement for Daniel Ricciardo

After Alpine announced on August 2 that Piastri would be moving up to a full-time post in 2023, Piastri jumped to Twitter to offer a firm and now famous rebuttal that he would not be driving for the team. Szafnauer had previously told the media that he had informed Piastri that the team would announce him as his driver and that the Australian “smiled and was grateful” – but in an exclusive interview with F1.com Piastri recounted a “bizarre and frank episode. shocking “. “With the Alpine.

ANALYSIS: Unpack the Piastri-Alpine-McLaren situation after the CRB ruling

On Saturday Szafnauer responded to Piastri’s interview and said: “I never lied to you and I never will. But what I can tell you is to reiterate what I said earlier. Oscar was in the simulator, when he finished his simulator session, I went to tell him about the exits and to congratulate him and he smiled and said ‘thank you’.

“Was there a group of people there? I can tell you no It was me, the simulator technician – who happened to be in the same room – but if you’ve seen a simulator it’s a big enough room, as big as it is here, and there were three of us in that room. It wasn’t a group of people, it wasn’t weird, and he smiled and said ‘thank you’. “

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Szafnauer was asked more questions about the Piastri contract situation on Saturday morning in Zandvoort

The Alpine chief added, when asked if his team’s loyalty was under control: “Our loyalty to Oscar was that we had something called heads of state and we delivered everything above and beyond what we had. said we would do it, including 3,500 kilometers in the last car of the year, making him our reserve driver.

“When McLaren and Mercedes asked if we could share it as a backup because they didn’t have one, we let them do it. We paid for it. This is our loyalty to Oscar “.

TIMELINE: How the Oscar Piastri saga unfolded

As for the Alpine 2023 lineup, the team is still looking for a replacement for outgoing veteran Fernando Alonso who will join Aston Martin. Szafnauer said there is “great demand” for an Alpine seat next year.

“I think we’re lucky to have a huge demand for our seats, so let’s take some time and think, but it’s like everyone else – you want the fastest driver you need to get, one with experience, consistency and speed. Then we will evaluate who is available to fill that role. “

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