McLaren team principal Zak Brown responded to Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer's comments on Oscar Piastri's integrity. As many know by now, Oscar Piastri debunked Alpine's official statement that he will be driving for the team in the 2023 F1 season. A few days later, Piastri was announced as McLaren's future driver with Daniel Ricciardo leaving the British outfit at the end of the 2022 F1 season.
Because of this, Alpine's team principal criticized the young driver and questioned his integrity. However, Zak Brown addressed Otmar's comments and defended the young Australian driver. He said:
"I thought Otmar's comments towards Oscar were unfair and not accurate, especially having sat through the CRB [Contract Recognition Board]."
Soon after those shocking announcements about Oscar Piastri, the case was taken to the Contract Recognition Board where the situation was finally cleared. Zak Brown further explained how Alpine were surprised to see Fernando Alonso leave for Aston Martin; hence, they immediately promoted Oscar Piastri without discussing the terms properly.
The McLaren team boss further said:
"And now I know exactly what happened. I think we need to remember they [Alpine] were trying to sign Fernando Alonso, and it's kind of this 'Oh, this seat is yours, we announced you.'. Well, that's only because Fernando caught you by surprise, so he was going to have to sit out another year or go to a team further down the grid. And I think he served his duty, sitting out a year."
It was no secret that Oscar Piastri was one of the prime candidates for a seat in Formula 1. Unfortunately, Alpine kept him on the sidelines for a very long time. The Australian has finally entered the grid with McLaren and will start alongside Lando Norris next season.
Daniel Ricciardo joins Red Bull as a third driver after leaving McLaren
After a tough two years at McLaren, Daniel Ricciardo left the British outfit and joined Red Bull as their third (reserve) driver. Ricciardo has won seven races with the Austrian team and will now be returning to work behind the scenes.
Since Red Bull had some fond memories with the Australian, everyone in the team delightfully welcomed him back. Daniel Ricciardo himself felt relieved after getting the job after a rocky stint at McLaren. He expressed his happiness and appreciated the warm welcome from his former team. Ricciardo said:
"I’m truly excited to be coming back home to Oracle Red Bull Racing as their Third Driver in 2023. I already have so many fond memories of my time here, but the welcome from Christian (Horner), Dr (Helmut) Marko and the entire team is something I’m sincerely appreciative of."
Of course, we will not see Daniel Ricciardo on the grid as he is not a full-time driver at Red Bull, but he will be around the Formula 1 paddock.