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Webber praises how 'loyal' Piastri handled contract saga

Oscar Piastri was subject to a much-publicised dispute over his services for 2023 between Alpine and McLaren. His manager, former F1 driver Mark Webber, believes that the youngster dealt with the situation better than others involved.

Mark Webber has praised Oscar Piastri for how he dealt with being subject to a contract dispute between Alpine and McLaren. The row erupted when Alpine named Piastri – who had been serving as their reserve driver – as part of their 2023 line-up following Fernando Alonso's exit for Aston Martin, only for Piastri to later deny that he had signed for Alpine. Piastri had agreed a deal to race at McLaren as Daniel Ricciardo's replacement and the case was taken to the Contract Recognition Board, with the verdict going in McLaren's favour. Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer was critical of Piastri following the saga, having stated that he "expected more loyalty" from the Australian, but Webber – who acts as Piastri's manager – feels that the rookie driver did continue to be "loyal" in the situation.

Webber credits Piastri's handling of contract saga

"He was pretty relaxed, actually," Webber told Australian outlet Speedcafe . "Of course, he was, ironically, showing as much loyalty as he could do under the circumstances, because he was waiting for answers. "He was the one who was the most loyal out of the whole situation. All the other shareholders and people that have been there since he's been eight years old were certainly a lot less patient. "Oscar was keen to be as loyal as possible, and it still was pretty challenging [regarding] what the future was looking like. "But then, obviously, McLaren said they wanted to make a change. Oscar was available, and that's something which we had to move pretty quick on."

McLaren prepared to take 'risk' on Piastri, says Webber

With McLaren opting to replace Ricciardo with Piastri for 2023, Webber acknowledges that the Woking-based squad were willing to take a gamble on a rookie driver, something they have done in the past. "They were prepared to take a huge risk on Oscar, which was tremendous," Webber explained. "They had done [the same] with Lando [Norris], they had done to a degree with Carlos [Sainz], and obviously Lewis [Hamilton, being brought in] under Ron Dennis, that took a huge risk with him. "So it was a great opportunity for Oscar to get going but, of course, he was mindful of replacing Daniel, absolutely, [but] if it wasn't him it would have been someone else. "[Oscar] knows he should have been racing this year. That's the big killer here, that he did a few days [of] testing, but racing drivers want to race and that was really hurting Oscar this year."

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