MCLAREN and Alpine are both in the hunt for former F3 and F2 champion Oscar Piastri.
F1 preview: A lap of the Belgian Grand Prix
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McLaren boss Zak Brown has suggested Alpine’s Otmar Szafnauer has no credibility as the battle for Oscar Piastri intensifies. It comes after Szafnauer suggested Piastri has no integrity after snubbing Alpine’s offer of an F1 drive.
However, Brown took a swipe at Szafnauer in the build-up to the Belgian Grand Prix, claiming he should not be making “accusations around ethics”. Speaking to Sky Sports F1, he said: “Ultimately I don’t know any of the details between that relationship so I think it would be unfair for me to take a position either way because I simply don’t know.
“But judging by recent times of the way Fernando departed and caught Otmar by surprise. Not long ago he was the recipient of a £400,000 fine and 15 points, I’m not sure he comes with the highest level of credibility in making accusations around ethics.”
Brown’s comments refer to Szafnauer’s Racing Point team being hit with the fine and a 15-point penalty at the start of the 2020 season. It came after the FIA ruled Racing Point had used an illegal design process over its brake ducts.
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Zak Brown has fired shots at Otmar Szafnauer (Image: Sky Sports F1)
The pair clashed at the time of the incident two years ago with Szafnauer claiming Brown “had no idea what he’s talking about”. The latest incident comes as the pair battle to secure the services of hotly-anticipated rookie Piastri.
Alpine announced he would join their driver line-up for next season but Piastri refused the offer on social media hours later. It comes after rumours Piasti has already signed a deal to race for McLaren next season with the team already axing Daniel Ricciardo.
Alpine boss Szafnauer still believes the team had a valid contract with Piastri and will meet with F1’s Contract Recognition Board (CRB) next week.
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Oscar Piastri is embroiled in a contract war (Image: Getty)
Blasting Piastri’s actions, Szafnauer said: “He’s a promising young driver who hasn’t driven in Formula 1 yet and my wish for Oscar was that he had a bit more integrity. He signed a piece of paper as well back in November and we’ve done everything on our end of the bargain to prepare him for Formula 1.
“His end of the bargain was to either drive for us, or take a seat where we would place him, for the next three years and I just wish Oscar would have remembered what he signed in November and what he signed up to.”