On Friday Piastri was officially confirmed as Daniel Ricciardo’s replacement at McLaren after the team won their battle with Alpine for the reigning F2 champion’s services, with the FIA’s Contract Recognition Board ruling that McLaren have a valid contract with Piastri for 2023 and 2024.
It came after a long-running dispute over Piastri’s future, with the Australian rejecting Alpine’s claim that he would make his F1 debut with them next year, replacing Fernando Alonso, whose bombshell switch to Aston Martin for 2023 took Alpine by surprise.
Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer said he had informed Piastri of the team’s announcement for 2023 while he was on the team’s simulator, adding the 21-year-old “smiled and was thankful”.
But Piastri revealed a different version of events in an interview with the official F1 website.
“That was a bizarre and frankly upsetting episode,” he said. “It was done publicly in front of some members of the team who were oblivious to the situation and I didn’t want to cause a scene in front of them.
“Once we were in private, I told Otmar what our position was and what he had been told multiple times before that. It was very surprising to me to make that announcement.”
The Australian said he and his management team had already told Alpine on two occasions prior to Alonso’s departure that he would not be driving for them in 2023.
“My decision was made well in advance [of Alonso’s departure], which made Alpine’s announcement probably even more confusing and upsetting because we had told the team that I wasn’t going to continue,” he explained.
“It was quite upsetting as the announcement was false and it also denied me the opportunity to properly say goodbye to everyone at Enstone.
“I had been with team for a bit over two and a half years now, and for the rest of the team to find out I was leaving in that manner was very upsetting.
“I still haven’t had the opportunity to say goodbye and it’s something I want to do to show my gratitude to all the men and women at Enstone.”
Speaking about his tweet denying Alpine’s announcement, Piastri added: “It was the biggest moment of my career and probably my life up to now.
“To have that falsely announced was something my management and I felt we had to correct and there was also potential legal implications if we didn’t deny the announcement.
“It was not intended to be pointed or in any way anything more than factual. The last line was quite a strong one, but with the CRB ruling, it shows it was purely a fact.”