McLaren hits back at Alpine’s Piastri lack of integrity claim

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Reigning F2 champion Piastri is at the center of a dispute over his future. Alpine claims it has a contract for him to race in F1 next year, but Piastri has denied signing a deal, saying he will not drive for the team in 2023 as McLaren put him in line for Daniel Ricciardo to replace.

Szafnauer team principal Szafnauer said in an interview on Friday that he wished the young Australian had “a little more integrity” after Alpine supported his junior career.

Szafnauer’s comments were referred to Brown, the CEO of McLaren Racing, who responded by asking if Szafnauer was in a position to make such a comment.

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“Ultimately, I don’t know the details of that relationship, so I think it would be unfair for me to take a position because I just don’t know,” Brown said in an interview with Sky Sports.

“But judging by the recent times, the way Fernando [Alonso] left and surprised Otmar, and not so long ago he was fined €400,000 and 15 points [fined]I’m not sure he’s coming up with the highest level of credibility and making accusations about ethics.”

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Brown was referring to the brake line saga with which Szafnauer’s Racing Point team became embroiled at the start of the 2020 season when it was revealed that the team had used an illegal design process. It resulted in a constructors championship penalty of 15 points and a €400,000 fine from the FIA.

Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal, Alpine F1, Pat Fry

Photo By: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Images

Outgoing Alpine driver Alonso also revealed at Spa on Thursday that Szafnauer was not involved in any talks over a new contract and was therefore not made aware of his move to Aston Martin until the public press release was issued.

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It is not the first time that Szafnauer and Brown have been engaged in a war of words. Amid the 2020 brake channel saga, Szafnauer claimed Brown had “no idea what he’s talking about” and “knows more about historic racing than F1”.

F1’s Contract Recognition Board will make a decision on the case between Alpine and Piastri on Monday.

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