Oscar Piastri has reacted to a media statement issued by the Alpine Formula 1 team confirming he would drive for the team next season.
The statement was released without quotes from the Australian who has now moved to distance himself from the announcement.
Taking to social media, Piastri stated he would not be driving for Alpine in 2023.
“I understand that, without my agreement, Alpine F1 have put out a press release late this afternoon that I am driving for them next year,” he wrote.
“This is wrong and I have not signed a contract with Alpine for 2023. I will not be driving for Alpine next year.”
The situation now looks set to become legal, reminiscent of the battle between Chip Ganassi Racing and McLaren SP over the services of Alex Palou in IndyCar.
According to comments made by Otmar Szafnauer, Alpine’s Team Principal, the Enstone operation believes it has Piastri under contract owing to an agreement struck in recent months.
Speaking during a media call prior to Alpine’s ‘confirmation’ of the Australian for next year, he stated his belief a contract was in place.
“There shouldn’t be any complications,” he said.
“If everyone is true to the agreements that they signed back only a few months ago, we should be able to move forward with the agreements that we have in place.”
That is clearly now at odds with Piastri’s own statements which imply he has struck a deal with another team.
It is thought that is McLaren, where the Melburnian will replace compatriot Daniel Ricciardo.
Sources have told Speedcafe.com that Piastri, his manager Mark Webber, and McLaren CEO Zak Brown met last week.
For its part, McLaren has refused to comment beyond reaffirming its support for Ricciardo.
Alpine is on the hunt for a replacement for Fernando Alonso after the Spaniard decided to leave the team at the end of the season.
He’ll join Aston Martin, with reserve driver Piastri his logical replacement.
However, the development comes after it was widely expected that Alonso would remain with Alpine, thereby continuing to block the path of his 21-year-old colleague.
As a result, alternative arrangements look to have been made on his behalf, seemingly leave Alpine without both Alonso and, at least for the moment, Piastri.
I understand that, without my agreement, Alpine F1 have put out a press release late this afternoon that I am driving for them next year. This is wrong and I have not signed a contract with Alpine for 2023. I will not be driving for Alpine next year.
— Oscar Piastri (@OscarPiastri) August 2, 2022