Otmar Szafnauer vows to make Oscar Piastri regret humiliating Alpine

Oscar Piastri won the F3 and F2 titles in consecutive seasons, something very few drivers have ever achieved.

Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer is keen for Alpine to “prove” that new McLaren driver Oscar Piastri “made the wrong choice” by ditching the Enstone-based team for the seat in Woking, in what was a key story of the 2022 season.

After winning the 2021 Formula 2 World Championship, Piastri found himself filling the role of reserve driver at Alpine, with the Australian having spent a lot of time in the simulator.

Weirdly, he was never given the opportunity to test Alpine’s 2022 car, meaning he had little understanding or experience of the new aerodynamic era of the sport.

His immense talent was arguably being wasted, with Alpine having sorted a seat at Williams for Piastri for 2023, with Szafnauer having been keen on the young driver developing at a lower side.

READ: Nico Hulkenberg comments on relationship with Kevin Magnussen after tensions

This clearly isn’t what Piastri wanted, with the Aussie having secretly signed a deal with McLaren to replace Daniel Ricciardo.

Piastri’s deal with McLaren came to light when he publicly rejected Fernando Alonso’s seat, after Alpine announced that he’d be racing alongside Esteban Ocon in 2023.

It was a very odd situation, with Alpine having announced Piastri as part of their 2023 driver line-up despite the driver having not accepted, resulting in him leaving the team embarrassed.

Piastri revealed on social media after Alpine’s announcement that he hadn’t agreed to race for the team and wouldn’t be doing so either, something which made Szafnauer furious.

Article continues below

The Romanian-American was convinced that the 21-year-old was contracted to race for them, resulting in a trip to the FIA’s Contract Recognition Board (CRB).

The CRB ultimately determined that Piastri wasn’t contracted to Alpine for 2023 and was free to move, resulting in his switch.

Following his move, Szafnauer hasn’t been afraid to take digs at their former reserve driver, who they spent millions on developing.

With Piastri gone, F2 driver and Alpine Academy member Jack Doohan has stepped up to fill the vacant reserve role, with Szafnauer clearly having a lot of faith in the driver’s desire to be with the team.

“You’ve got to, number one, have an iron-clad contract, but number two [is] just make the team attractive,” Szafnauer told Fox Sports in Australia.

READ: Ford addresses fears over Red Bull partnership

“I think we are, which is why Jack wants to be a part of our team.

“We just have to get more competitive, work hard, add performance to the car and do well on track.

“I wish Oscar good luck, but I think it’s for us to prove that he made the wrong choice.”