Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer has claimed that Oscar Piastri has a 'contractual obligation' to race for the F1 team, as confusion heightens over his future.
The French team recently lost Fernando Alonso to Aston Martin, but although the Spaniard will be a big loss, it paves the way for exciting talent Piastri to make his debut next season. However, Piastri came out and dismissed claims that he would be driving for Alpine in 2023 despite a statement released by the team saying otherwise.
Alpine are convinced that Piastri is signed for next season, as he prepares to make the step up from Formula 2. But Piastri and manager Mark Webber seem to think they've struck a deal elsewhere, as the situation turns ugly.
READ MORE: Fernando Alonso embarrasses Alpine boss with cheeky message amid Oscar Piastri chaos
"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," Piastri wrote on Twitter. "This is wrong and I have not signed a contract with Alpine for 2023. I will not be driving for Alpine next year."
Piastri has been linked with moves to both McLaren and Williams, but Szafnauer is adamant that the Australian will be staying with the French team for next season. "I am not aware of any agreements he would have made with McLaren, if any," he told Motorsport.com.
"I hear the same rumours as you in the pit lane. What I know is that he has a contractual obligation to us. And we to him too. We meet these obligations throughout the year.
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"Those obligations will continue into 2023, and possibly until 2024 if some options are exercised. We had to make him reserve driver this year and let him drive last year's car for a significant number of hours.
"We are already well over halfway through that 5,000km program in preparation for a race seat next year. Also VT1s and simulation work is performed by both parties.
"He fulfils his obligations, so do we. So we have a watertight contract with him for 2023 and with an option for 2024. So I don't know what he has agreed with McLaren."
Both parties seem very confident about the immediate future, but either Piastri or Alpine must be in the wrong. Piastri will certainly be a welcome addition to any team, but it's not yet clear who he will represent.
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