Ex-Formula 1 driver Mark Webber says that Oscar Piastri showed “as much loyalty as he could” to Alpine amid a contractual dispute in 2022.
Piastri had been part of Alpine’s academy for several years but took on a full-time drive with McLaren for the 2023 campaign.
Alpine team boss Otmar Szafnauer criticised Piastri for a lack of loyalty amid the situation – but Webber, who manages Piastri’s career, says Piastri handled the situation as best he could.
“He was pretty relaxed, actually,” Webber told Speedcafe.
“Of course, he was, ironically, showing as much loyalty as he could do under the circumstances, because he was waiting for answers.
“He was the one who was the most loyal out of the whole situation. All the other shareholders and people that have been there since he’s been eight years old were certainly a lot less patient.
“Oscar was keen to be as loyal as possible, and it still was pretty challenging [regarding] what the future was looking like.
“But then, obviously, McLaren said they wanted to make a change. Oscar was available, and that’s something which we had to move pretty quick on.”
Piastri will be paired alongside Lando Norris, who was brought in to the team as a rookie in 2019.
The Australian driver sat out the 2022 campaign after winning the Formula 2 Championship the year prior.
Webber commended McLaren for taking a “huge risk” with Piastri, after opting to part ways with the experience of Daniel Ricciardo.
“They were prepared to take a huge risk on Oscar, which was tremendous,” Webber explained.
“They had done [the same] with Lando, they had done to a degree with Carlos [Sainz], and obviously Lewis [Hamilton] under Ron Dennis, they took a huge risk with him.
“So it was a great opportunity for Oscar to get going but, of course, he was mindful of replacing Daniel, absolutely, [but] if it wasn’t him it would have been someone else.
“[Oscar] knows he should have been racing this year. That’s the big killer here, that he did a few days testing, but racing drivers want to race and that was really hurting Oscar this year.”
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