Mark Webber, the former Formula 1 driver and Oscar Piastri’s manager claimed the young driver was the most loyal out of the situation between Alpine and McLaren who fought to secure his services.
Oscar Piastri was in the headlines back during the 2022 F1 season, as he decided to refuse Alpine’s offer to promote him into a race seat for 2023 to replace Aston Martin-bound Fernando Alonso, after being part of their junior driver program.
As it turned out, Piastri and his manager Mark Webber have been working quietly on a possible McLaren opportunity, as the future was unclear with Alpine, and as things turned out, Woking won the legal battle with Enstone, and secured the young Aussie for 2023.
However, Alpine would not let the matter go, as their team boss Otmar Szafnauer continued to criticize Piastri, insisting he expected “more loyalty” from him, but Webber defended his protégé, claiming he was the one showed loyalty during the whole saga.
“He was pretty relaxed, actually,” Webber told Speedcafe about the whole debacle. “Of course, he was, ironically, showing as much loyalty as he could do under the circumstances, because he was waiting for answers.
Piastri’s future wasn’t looking clear
“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,” the former Red Bull driver explained.
Webber hailed McLaren for being willing to take a risk on an unknow entity like Piastri despite the driver’s impressive record in the junior categories.
“They were prepared to take a huge risk on Oscar, which was tremendous,” he pointed out. “They had done [the same] with Lando [Norris], they had done to a degree with Carlos [Sainz], and obviously Lewis [Hamilton, being brought in] under Ron Dennis, that 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 [of] testing, but racing drivers want to race and that was really hurting Oscar this year,” the 46-year-old maintained.