Oscar Piastri spoke out for the first time after he was announced as a McLaren driver for the 2023 Formula 1 season, and sited lack of clarity about his future at Alpine as the reason for him to jump ship.
The Australian spoke in an interview with F1’s Official Website about the reasons he left Alpine, soon after he was confirmed by McLaren as Daniel Ricciardo’s replacement following the ruling by the FIA’s Contract Recognition Board (CRB) that upheld his contract with the Woking outfit.
“The CRB ruling has confirmed I didn’t have a contract for the 2023 season [with Alpine],” Piastri said. “I was free to choose my destiny – and I felt McLaren was a great opportunity.
“They were very straightforward and very keen and enthusiastic to have me,” he added. “To be completely honest, there was a lack of clarity around my future at the team at Alpine.
“They publicly stated they wished to continue with Fernando for at least one or two more years,” the Formula 2 Champion explained. “I respect that.
“But after spending the year out, my hopes were firmly set on an Alpine seat and the lack of clarity and, similarly to Fernando, a bit of a strange feeling in negotiations, it didn’t feel like it was the right decision for me [to stay around].
“The lack of clarity around my future, and ultimately a breakdown in trust, I felt the very attractive offer of McLaren and the positive dealings with them thus far were all reasons why I felt McLaren was where I was best off for the future,” Piastri insisted.
Nothing but respect for Alpine
Piastri looked back on his time at Enstone, and all the development work he underwent with them, saying: “I’ve really enjoyed my time with Alpine.
“I joined the Academy off the back of winning the Formula Renault championship in 2019 as part of the prize for winning the championship, and enjoyed two incredibly successful years as part of the Academy with two further championships so I have nothing but respect for all the team at Enstone.
“It was a good testing programme that we came up with with Alpine this year, in place of not having a seat for this year,” he admitted. “It’s put me in good stead and I’m very thankful for Alpine for the testing we have done this year.
“But McLaren is a different team, a different car and the 2022 cars in general are quite different beasts so we’ll see how much of that carries over.
“I will look back on my time at Enstone with great memories but I’m now focusing on my future and starting my F1 career,” the 21-year-old maintained.
Piastri added: “I’m still reserve with Alpine and I’m happy to carry out those duties still, but it’s a discussion that we need to have between myself and the team.
“We’ll see how that looks and then obviously super excited to be joining the grid with McLaren next season,” he said.
Piastri’s announcement at McLaren along with CRB ruling brought closure on one of the most hot topics of this year’s Silly season, as the F1 world now looks to see how the future of Ricciardo pans out, along with other drivers, namely Mick Schumacher and Pierre Gasly.
It’s official! 😁#F1 #OP81 @mclaren pic.twitter.com/CFY3Z1ddrQ
— Oscar Piastri (@OscarPiastri) September 2, 2022