Australian F1 hopeful Oscar Piastri's conduct in his contract dispute with Alpine has been slammed by team boss Otmar Szafnauer after he knocked back their offer of a race seat.
Alpine, who have supported Piastri's junior career as he won F3 and F2 championships in 2020 and 2021, have been left in the lurch after Fernando Alonso jumped ship to Aston Martin and Piastri knocked back what many in F1 had considered an obvious move.
The French F1 team was left shocked when, after announcing the Melbourne-born driver would drive for the team in 2023, Piastri took to his own Twitter account to declare no such agreement was in place.
Massive speculation has erupted in the wake of Piastri's shock move, with many reports suggesting he and manager Mark Webber could be eyeing a potential seat at McLaren.
McLaren have both Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris under contract for 2023, with the British team likely to have to pay out the remainder of the underperforming Ricciardo's contract if they decide to pursue other options.
Unsurprisingly, Alpine have been left unimpressed by Piastri's rejection.
Team prinicipal Szafnauer, an F1 veteran who has held senior roles for multiple teams in a career stretching back decades, said Piastri's conduct was 'unprecedented'.
"I expected more loyalty from Oscar than he is showing," he said.
"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.' For me, if you say, 'Hey, help me, I'll help you tomorrow,' there's no way I would go back on my word. No way.
"He should (drive with the) team that has taken care of him, that has taken him to the world championship and, above all, that during the last year has put him in a Formula 1 car so that he would be ready, so that he would know the circuits.
"There should be some loyalty to the fact that we have invested literally millions and millions of euros to prepare him. So I don't understand it either, you should ask him."
Stunning F1 move in works amid Oscar Piastri, Daniel Ricciardo drama
The saga over the futures Ricciardo and Piastri has taken another twist with reports that McLaren have told Ricciardo he will be replaced by his fellow Australian next season.
The www.racingnews365.com website cited Australian sources saying Ricciardo had been officially informed of his "de-hiring".
Meanwhile, Autosport said it understood Ricciardo had been told McLaren intended to replace him with 21-year-old Piastri, who this week rejected a 2023 seat at Renault-owned Alpine, despite having a contract for next year.
McLaren have not commented on a story that has gripped Formula One since the start of the August break.
Multiple sources have said that Piastri has been lined up to replace the under-performing Ricciardo, however.
That could ultimately involve McLaren paying Ricciardo not to race for them.
The 33-year-old was signed from Renault at the end of 2020 but, apart from winning last year's Italian Grand Prix against the odds, has failed to live up to expectations at the former champions.
This season he has scored a mere 19 points, with a highest position of sixth, compared with teammate Lando Norris's 76 from 13 races.
Racingnews365.com reported that Piastri signed a contract with McLaren last Saturday at the Hungarian Grand Prix and the team then lodged it with the sport's Contract Recognition Board.
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