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Piastri character targeted following "back-door" contract mess

Piastri character targeted following "back-door" contract mess

Piastri character targeted following "back-door" contract mess

Piastri character targeted following "back-door" contract mess

Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi has questioned the character of Oscar Piastri following the recent contract fiasco.

Last year's F2 champion, who has been a part of Alpine's driver academy and is the team's reserve driver this season, will move to McLaren for 2023 to replace Daniel Ricciardo and partner Lando Norris.

The move came as a shock to Alpine, who had announced Piastri as its own replacement for Aston Martin-bound Fernando Alonso in August.

But Piastri denounced the move and after a Contract Recognition Board hearing, McLaren was found to have the only valid deal for his services.

Conceding mistakes were made by the French manufacturer, Rossi told “He never signed any contracts we put to him.

"We put contracts forward many times. They were never signed. We could not retain him because he didn’t sign a contract with us. We were expecting more loyalty.

“We made some mistakes, we made some legal technical mistakes. We left the door ajar by not forcing him in with a contract that is so tight he couldn’t move.

"Why did we do that? It’s a bit of an oversight because we never thought that when you give so much to someone, when you give them training, a reserve role, a seat in a partner team, he will not take it after being supported for so many years and winning the championship through your support.

“Like George [Russell] before him, who went to Williams before returning to Mercedes, like Charles [Leclerc] who went to Sauber before returning to Ferrari, like Max [Verstappen] and like Sebastian [Vettel, who both raced for Toro Rosso before driving for Red Bull] – they all did a ‘junior’ team before moving up."

Rossi suggests Piastri believed he was 'too big for Williams'

Rossi confirmed that Piastri had been given an offer to drive for Williams next season as part of his preparation for the Alpine seat, only to sign for McLaren as the deal with the Grove-based outfit was becoming concrete.

Criticising Piastri's values, Rossi conceded: “I’m a bit surprised that Oscar thought that first, he was better than Williams.

"I can understand from a sporting perspective McLaren might be more interesting based on pure on-track results than Williams.

"But we didn’t expect that after so much support, so much loyalty, they would use that back door to shop around and get what felt like a better contract for them. Those are not the values we exhibited. This is how I see the story.

"Of course, we made mistakes, otherwise we wouldn’t be here talking about the topic, but we feel we stayed very true to our commitment, to our values and to our words to Oscar.

“But I would say things happen for a reason. We’re not sharing the same conceptions of things, and perhaps not sharing the same values, so it’s perhaps better this way, to be parting ways.”

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