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Webber condemns Alpine "ballooning" of Piastri financial support

Webber condemns Alpine "ballooning" of Piastri financial support

Webber condemns Alpine "ballooning" of Piastri financial support

Webber condemns Alpine "ballooning" of Piastri financial support

Oscar Piastri's manager Mark Webber has accused Alpine of exaggerating the investment it has made in the soon-to-be McLaren driver.

Piastri will make his F1 debut as Lando Norris' team-mate after the Contract Recognition Board ruled the Woking-based outfit had the only valid deal with the 21-year-old Australian.

Throughout the process, Piastri has been levelled with claims of a lack of integrity from Otmar Szafnauer, with the Alpine team principal suggesting millions had been spent on providing the reigning F2 champion with a launchpad through the Academy and with private test runs.

But disputing Szafnauer's comments, former race winner Webber told Channel 4 in his role as a pundit: "The numbers have been really ballooned out of proportion.

"The summer break has given people a chance to throw millions and millions and millions. It is certainly not that.

"The junior categories, Oscar got some good prize money for winning those championships as well, outside of Alpine's investment.

"So over 80 per cent of the budget was supplied by outside sponsors and Oscar's family for his junior career and the Academy, so it is also important to get some context there."

Piastri "will do what he needs to do"

Szafnauer insinuated the team would convene with Piastri's team to discuss whether he would continue in his role as reserve driver for the remainder of the season.

Addressing the matter, Webber added: "Next week there will be a discussion to be had, now that it is all out there.

"Obviously, the current has been underneath for a while that something was happening. But they knew that, absolutely crystal clear they knew that.

"So now we are at a point this weekend where we will have a chat.

"Look, he has been working hard for this team, doing long hours, he has tried to contribute as much to Alpine as much as he can in terms of performance and doing as much as he can to help in the sim."

Asked if it could be assumed Piastri wanted to leave, Webber replied: "He is a pro, absolute professional and he will do what he needs to do.

"It is up to Alpine how they want to treat... they have a contract with him to the end of '22. It is up to them what they want to do."

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