‘He has to blame himself’: Otmar Szafnauer branded a ‘sore loser’ over Oscar Piastri saga

The Alpine F1 Team are looking to take Oscar Piastri to court.

The Oscar Piastri/Alpine F1 Team saga appears to have taken yet another fascinating turn, with FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem announcing that the situation will be resolved through the FIA’s Driver Contract Recognition Board and not the high court.

Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer expressed his intent on taking both Piastri and the McLaren F1 Team to court, with the Romanian-American believing that the young Australian driver is contractually bound to race for them.

For those unaware, Alpine announced that 2021 F2 World Champion Piastri (who is also the French team’s reserve driver) would race for the team in 2023; however, Piastri quickly released his own statement informing the world that this announcement wasn’t factually correct.

The Australian driver announced that he hadn’t agreed to race for Alpine next season, and crucially won’t be either.

READ: Alpine boss suggests Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso played role in Oscar Piastri fallout

It’s now come to light that Piastri has signed a deal with McLaren to replace Daniel Ricciardo next season, with the 33-year-old demanding £17 million from the Woking-based team to relinquish his seat.

Ricciardo is contracted with McLaren until the end of 2023, meaning McLaren will most likely need to pay the Honey Badger the fee demanded in order to have Piastri race next season.

Szafnauer has been left furious by the whole situation, with the Alpine boss believing Piastri owes the Enstone-based team millions in compensation.

The Alpine team principal believes it’s only right that Piastri repays the team for all the money they put into his future, preparing him for life as an Alpine F1 driver.

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Initially, Szafnauer insisted on going to the high court; however, this appears to now not be the case.

“The FIA’s Driver Contract Recognition Board (CRB) was set up to deal with contract priority issues between drivers and F1 teams,” the FIA president tweeted.

“That’s why we rely on their decision to resolve any conflict.”

The FIA’s CRB are currently dealing with the situation, which according to French publication Auto Hebdo, has found that Piastri’s contracts with both Alpine and McLaren are valid, adding yet another twist to the saga.

Ex-F1 driver Ralf Schumacher believes Alpine are totally in the wrong, labelling the French team as “sore losers”.

Whilst talking to Sky F1 in Germany, Schumacher explained that he thinks Piastri is absolutely right for signing with a different team, with Szafnauer only being able to “blame himself”.

“Piastri has done everything right,” he started.

“Now we can only hope that the sore loser – in this case Alpine – doesn’t put obstacles in the boy’s path. Piastri was with them, they had everything in hand, all they had to do was give him a contract.

“I’m sorry. I like Otmar, but he will be disappointed in his own performance, that he didn’t see it coming with Alonso and that he doesn’t have a plan B. That’s the embarrassing thing about the whole saga.

“Accordingly, he has to blame himself. Oscar did nothing wrong. At the end of the day, Alpine could have questioned Alonso earlier and made it clear to Piastri that they would be relying on him in the future.

“He won Formula 3 in his first year, and Formula 2 as well. What should he be waiting for? I would have done the same if I had been offered a job.

“One thing was clear; Alpine wasn’t interested in putting Piastri in the car next year at the beginning because they saw that young drivers need a certain amount of time (until they arrive in Formula 1).

“They wanted to put him somewhere else for one or two years. There was an option from Alpine to (put Piastri in the cockpit), but it wasn’t taken because they didn’t expect Fernando Alonso to leave.

“When you have such a jewel, it’s criminal to let him go. If you’re then unable to get the contracts right yourself, you can’t blame the young man.

“You also have to remember one thing; Piastri’s manager Mark Webber has a very, very close relationship with McLaren team boss Andreas Seidl,” Schumacher concluded.

Schumacher’s comments on Szafnauer come after the Alpine boss questioned Piastri’s “integrity as a human being”, very strong words aimed at someone who is just 21-years-old.

READ: Andreas Seidl reveals why he’s not surprised by McLaren’s poor form

“I expected more loyalty from Oscar than he is showing,” Szafnauer told Spanish publication El Confidencial.

“I started in 1989 in Formula 1 and I’ve never seen anything like this. And it’s not about Formula 1, it’s about integrity as a human being.

“For me, the way I grew up, I don’t need to sign a piece of paper and then have someone say, ’You’re lying, because you signed this’.”