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Piastri accused by Alpine of lacking integrity

Piastri accused by Alpine of lacking integrity

Piastri accused by Alpine of lacking integrity

Piastri accused by Alpine of lacking integrity

Oscar Piastri has been accused of lacking integrity by Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer as a decision on his future looms large.

Szafnauer has confirmed Piastri has signed a deal to race with McLaren from next season as the replacement for the axed Daniel Ricciardo.

Alpine, however, is convinced it has a deal in place with the 21-year-old Australian.

That is despite the fact it planned to place Piastri with Williams next year prior to being stunned by Fernando Alonso's decision to join Aston Martin.

The Contract Recognitions Board [CRB] will now sit in judgment on the furore on Monday and determine whether McLaren or Alpine has the rights to Piastri.

"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," said Szafnauer, speaking to Sky Sports F1.

Asked whether he believed Piastri had signed another contract with another team for next season, Szafnauer replied: "Yeah, for sure", and whether that team was McLaren, he added: "Yeah, yeah."

As to the way Piastri had conducted himself, however, notably taking to Twitter to categorically state he would not be driving for Alpine next season, Szafnauer made his feelings clear.

"He is a promising young driver who hasn't driven in Formula 1 yet, and my wish for Oscar is that he had a bit more integrity," remarked Szafnauer.

"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.

"And 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 understanding is the CRB will rule in favour of McLaren, leaving Alpine looking for a driver, with Ricciardo mentioned for a possible return after driving in its former Renault guise in 2019 and 2020.

Assessing the possibility of recruiting Ricciardo, Szafnauer said: "The team speak very highly of Daniel and his time here.

"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."

As for the departing Alonso, who sparked the saga with his decision to join Aston Martin, Szafnauer noted: "Fernando is a two-time world champion still driving at a high level.

"Hopefully that will last not too much longer because he is leaving but it doesn't last forever.

"We've got to look forward now and fill the open seat with the best driver."

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