Oscar Piastri has opened up on his departure from the Alpine Formula 1 team, describing it as a “bizarre and upsetting” episode.
On Friday, McLaren announced that Oscar Piastri would join the team after the Contract Recognition Board (CRB) ruled in its favour.
Piastri has been associated with the Alpine outfit for a number of years as part of its junior academy, and he was originally expected to replace Fernando Alonso at the team in 2023, after his announcement that he would leave for Aston Martin.
However, Piastri has revealed that he told Alpine prior to Alonso’s revelation that he would depart the team at the end of the year.
“My decision was made well in advance [of Alonso’s departure], which made Alpine’s announcement probably even more confusing and upsetting because we had told the team that I wasn’t going to continue,” he told Formula1.com.
“It was quite upsetting as the announcement was false and it also denied me the opportunity to properly say goodbye to everyone at Enstone.
“I had been with the team for a bit over two and a half years now, and for the rest of the team to find out I was leaving in that manner was very upsetting.
“I still haven’t had the opportunity to say goodbye and it’s something I want to do to show my gratitude to all the men and women at Enstone.”
Szafnauer sought Piastri out in the Alpine simulator to inform Piastri that he had the drive for 2023, which left Piastri upset as it was done in front of other team members who were unaware of his impending departure.
“That was a bizarre and frankly upsetting episode,” he said. “It was done publicly in front of some members of the team who were oblivious to the situation and I didn’t want to cause a scene in front of them.
“Once we were in private, I told Otmar what our position was and what he had been told multiple times before that. It was very surprising to me to make that announcement.”
Piastri caused a stir when he responded to the announcement from Alpine that he would race for it on Twitter, publicly rejecting the drive.
Explaining why he opted to publish the message, Piastri said: “It was the biggest moment of my career and probably my life up to now.
“To have that falsely announced was something my management and I felt we had to correct and there was also potential legal implications if we didn’t deny the announcement.
“It was not intended to be pointed or in any way anything more than factual. The last line was quite a strong one, but with the CRB ruling, it shows it was purely a fact.”
And now the first indication of what the Szafnauer effect may have become within Alpine. This doesn’t look good on the team principal, and drivers will be wise to consider any approach to join the team more of a risk than an opportunity.