Piastri should have had “more integrity” over Alpine deal – Szafnauer

2022 Belgian Grand Prix

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Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer has criticised their reserve driver Oscar Piastri for lacking “integrity” in his dealing with the team.

The team announced Piastri as its replacement for Fernando Alonso in its line-up next year. However Piastri subsequently announced he will not drive for the team and said their statement was “wrong”.

Having won the Formula 2 championship last year, Piastri has spent 2022 without a race drive. Szafnauer, who believes Piastri has agreed a deal to drive for McLaren next year, said his team was committed to placing the 21-year-old on the F1 grid next year and he should have remained faithful to them.

“He’s a promising young driver, he hasn’t driven in Formula 1 yet, and my wish for Oscar is that he had a bit more integrity,” Szafnauer told Sky.

“He signed a piece of paper as well, back in November, and we’ve done everything on our end of the bargain to prepare him for Formula 1. His end of the bargain was to either drive for us or take a seat where we would place him, for the next three years.

“I just wish Oscar would have remembered what he signed in November and what he signed up to.”

The Contract Recognition Board is due to meet on Monday to rule on the matter. “The right thing for us to do is go to the CRB on Monday, see how that pans out, and then start looking at some negotiations in earnest,” Szafnauer told Sky.

If Piastri does not drive for the team next year, Szafnauer indicated Alpine would be open to rehiring Daniel Ricciardo, who left them at the end of 2019, but has struggled since joining McLaren and will leave his contract there a year early at the end of this season.

“The team speak very highly of Daniel and his time here,” said Szafnauer. “We haven’t had those strategic discussions. But I’ve asked the engineering team and everybody really speaks highly of his skill as a driver and a team motivator.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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32 comments on “Piastri should have had “more integrity” over Alpine deal – Szafnauer”

  1. So I take it Otmar has read the contract now and knows he’ll not have Oscar in one of his cars next year.

    1. It sounds like, even if the CRB rule in Alpine’s favour, they will be looking for financial compensation rather than the prospect of Piastri driving for them @proesterchen.

      1. Alpine/Renault will never go that far because they know they will lose as the courts do not take kindly to employers artificially withholding the right for employees right to work.
        I don’t think the contract stated that if Oscar won the F2 title he would be rewarded with sim work at a dump industrial site in England, this is why Alpine are publicly insulting Oscar because THEY broke the contract by not giving him a 2022 seat or the ability to race at a high level (F2 champs are banned for racing in the series again).
        Alpine could’ve avoided all of this if they either kicked washed up alonso out of the team when his contract ended last season or not give ocon a million year contract so why is Oscar to blame for a multi billion euro teams clownish management?

        If anything Oscar has a legal case for defamation as the team is breaching the non disparagement clause.

        1. Washed up Alonso. LMAO at least someone thinks Alonso has already stayed too much

    2. @proesterchen to be fair, even if Piastri had to honour the Alpine contract, I’m not sure whether you would want him to. This will leave a lot of bad taste in the mouths at Alpine and in such a small community it feels odd that Piastri burned the bridge when he didn’t have to. This could have been handled behind (mostly) closed doors.

      1. Agree it should have been behind closed doors, although in Piastri’s defense, it was Alpine that launched a public announcement without consulting Piastri first.

      2. If the best argument Otmar can fashion is “something, something, integrity”, we can safely conclude that there is in fact no legal contract to honour.

  2. Fingers crossed for Ricciardo back at Alpine / Renault. I can imagine it would be a 1 year though, to make sure Ric can still perform following the McLaren debacle.

    That would be the ideal from this mess.

    1. Nahh, nobody wants that clown!

  3. So, Ricci will earn 14m + Alpine salary next year?

    1. I think it will be 14m – Alpine salary next year. So since Ric will be getting 14m regardless of what happens it will be cheap for Alpine.

  4. Maybe szafnauer should have more integrity for his expanding waistline..

    Why is the team leader acting like a pathetic bitter individual smearing an employee like this on a public stage without Oscar having a right to reply? It clearly shows the lack of integrity and general all round cancerous management culture at Renualt group…the same group that created criminals like carlos ghosn..
    Lets REMIND szafnauer that It is Alpine who screwed Oscar over and broken his contract by by not giving him a 2022 F1 seat after winning the F2 championship preferring to give an over the hill driver in his 40’s a contract extension instead.. Oscars agent Mark Webber is fully aware of the legal minefield and bootlicking bureaucracy in F1 and working for the best interests of his client he sought a better deal at another team.

    Oscar might be the next Lewis Hamilton and could you imagine Ron Dennis telling the 2006 GP2 champion to sit in the corner like a good academy driver ‘slave’ because pedro de la rosa is driving for the team in 2007 instead?

    100% guarantee if Oscar was in the Alpine seat or F2 changed the rules to allow champions to race again there would not be a problem.

    1. @ccpbioweapon I actually like the ban on champions in F2. Otherwise you could have a Chadwick situation… a driver dominating F2 for several years isn’t a good look on the series, the idea is to promote drivers

  5. Turns out you can’t buy loyalty by stringing drivers along and expecting them to wait for your phone call. Alonso already left because another team was actually willing to sign him to a contract, and by all means it appears Piastri has done the same. Good on them. This is a business, Alonso spending another year keeping a seat warm because Alpine isn’t willing to pull the trigger on a talented young driver (while keeping a less good driver in a long-year-deal in the other seat) while Piastri sits yet another year in a simulator developing race rust was a bad deal for both of them. So naturally they went looking elsewhere.

    Loyalty works both ways, Otmar. Alpine isn’t a top-team, they need to stop acting like drivers should get on their knees and thank them for the carrot dangling of maybe giving them a drive. The only reason you even desperately want Piastri now is because you failed to be loyal to two drivers at once, and now you’re left with none. That’s on you.

  6. Szafnauer have denied countless times he was about to quit Aston and join Alpine as well…

  7. Weren’t they ready to sign Alonso for another year? Oscar surely knew that, if so looking elsewhere is exactly what should be done. You can’t expect the F2 champion to wait two years to race in F1 while not even doing practice outings…

    1. They were trying to convince Alonso to sign a 1 year contract and convince Piastri to wait for the seat in Alpine for 2024 (and place him at Williams next season). At the end they lost both drivers.

  8. Like the integrity and loyalty he showed Perez after he let them not pay him thus keeping the team afloat only to be dumped as soon as the money came to the team, while having a contract for 2 more years I would add. Yeah I think he can shut up about integrity.

    1. That was Papa Stroll’s doing. Not Szafnauer

      1. Happened under his watch.

        1. @slowmo “Happened under his watch”

          Nice try, Next time your unhappy with your bosses decision, please tell him he’s totally wrong and that your willing to get fired, stop getting paychecks until he changes his decision and starts agreeing with you; better yet, go tell everyone at work and to the press that you don’t agree with him and complain about it. Let me know how it goes.

          1. Still doesn’t change the fact he did it to Perez but nice straw mam attempt.

  9. I feel like I agree with Szafnauer.

    While Alpine are (most probably) wrong in the letter of the contract, they are right in sprit of the contract. In a close knit world of formula 1, it is the spirit which will hold a driver in good stead in the long run.

    Alpine has clearly messed up its contractual situation. But think of it this way: Alpine did do a pretty expansive Sim and testing program for Piastri without having a valid contract. One can argue that is very good and moral behaviour by Alpine.

    Alpine messed up by making a unilateral announcement. But Piastri could also have just stayed quiet and tried to sort this out behind closed doors. Him making a strong tweet which categorically stated, “I will not drive for Alpine” while true, will not win him any backers in the paddock.

    Of course, all will be forgiven if he outpaces Lando. But that is easier said than done.

  10. Attitude is important in the sport. Piastri tweeting is not the first thing I would have done if I were in his place since Social Media is not secure. I’d have discussed the matter with my manager and both teams involved. This has to be the first time such thing has occurred….? Or have there been similarities of events in the past?

    1. I doubt Piastri even wrote that tweet. It was too similar in format to the whole Palou IndyCar disputed move involving McLaren once again.

      Somebody in McLarens legal team wrote it and told him to post it imho.

  11. Szafnauer tried to string two drivers along and lost both. That’s unfortunate, but there’s no need to get worked up about it and make snide remarks about both drivers to distract from his own role in this saga.

    Piastri may come to regret his decision to go up against Norris rather than Ocon, but his bet seems to be that it’s better to take a chance than languish for years in a Williams, after which time his F2 success will be five to six years old and people will have moved on. Russell was able to justify that given he was looking at joining the dominant Mercedes team, but to drive around at the back of the field for years to move to Alpine seems far less appealing.

  12. Integrity?
    From the team that talked Ocon out of signing for McLaren a few years back, making a firm commitment to hire him to drive for them; then reneged in the deal and signed Ricciardo instead, leaving Ocon without a drive.

    Someone should tell him that integrity begins at home.

  13. Poor loser and hypocrite

  14. A lot of fans on the internet seem to know the wording and details of Piastri’s contract with Alpine.

    Reminds me of the Jenson Button situation in 2004 when he signed for Williams despite BAR saying he had a contract with them. Fans sided with Button/Williams only to be priven wrong when the CRB ruled that his BAR contact was valid and he’d have to stay there.

    Worked out for the better for him in the end as he’d likely never have had a shot at race wins let alone the championship had he switched to Williams who were about to really start there decline.

    Question is even if the CRB uphold the Alpine contact dors he race there or is an agreement reached with McLaren having to buy him out of the deal. Maybe they should have held onto Riccardo a few weeks longer so a driver swap could be done for less money or something.

    1. Let’s just say it would be highly irregular to lead with a moral argument if you had the facts of the case on your side.

    2. Buttons was a bit different because he did not have an agent(apart from his dad) or professional counsel in his early 20’s and was clueless to the legal and political minefield of F1 contracts.
      And like you mentioned BAR Honda forcing to stay by default won him the 2009 WDC as he was still under contract to Honda when they pulled out of F1 and the 2009 brawn was 99% a Honda with a shoehorned merc engine with Honda paying the staff and most of the teams expenses!
      it was an amazing scam pulled by ross brawn on the Japanese managers back in Tokyo.. Have an amazing loophole double diffuser developed by ex Super Aguri engineer, deliberately sandbag the in development 2009 car to Honda to force them to sell the team, offer to buy the team for €1 when Honda pulls out of motorsport due to crap results and the recession at the end of 2008, sell the team for €100m 12 months later.. This is a perfect example of the behind the scenes politics in F1 and Oscar signing with McLaren might be a masterstroke!

      Also Oscar has got a great agent in Mark Webber with decades of motorsport expertise behind him which is why alpine are moaning because there is no way Oscar would sign another contract without Mark making sure its water tight.

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