In the wake of Fernando Alonso’s move to Aston Martin, Alpine moved quickly to confirm its intention to give Piastri the race seat.
However, the team was already well aware that Piastri had also signed a contract with McLaren, and intended to race for the Woking outfit.
Piastri quickly took to social media to make it clear that he had no intention of taking up the Alpine seat, concluding his post with “this is wrong and I have not signed a contract with Alpine for 2023. I will not be driving for Alpine next year.”
Piastri’s snubbing of the team that invested in his career has not been well received across the paddock, especially by teams that also run junior programmes and support drivers as they make their way through the ranks.
“I have bigger problems than enjoy to sit on the balcony like in The Muppet Show to watch the show pan out in front of my eyes,” Wolff said when asked by Motorsport.com what he thought of the driver market situation.
“I think it’s important that junior programmes are being respected. I think some of the kids should be wary on Twitter what they said about multinational organisations. But I have no insight into the contracts.
“I believe in karma, I believe in integrity. But I’m not here to judge because as I said, I don’t know the legal situation.”
Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner, who has seen dozens of drivers pass through the drink company’s junior programme over the years, also stressed the importance of loyalty.
“I don’t fully understand it, because contractually, that should just never happen,” he told Sky F1.
“I think if Renault and Alpine have invested into his junior career, it’s because you invest in youth because you’re investing in it for the future, and there has to be an element of loyalty within that.
“So I don’t understand obviously contractually what’s going on there. But for him to be even in a position to think that he doesn’t have to drive for Alpine next year, obviously shows there’s something not right.
“Hopefully it’ll get sorted. He’s another great young talent. He drove for the Arden team in Formula 4, Formula Renault, so I know him pretty well.
“He’s a great talent that should be on the grid. Probably there’s been a bit more mess around his debut than there should be.”
Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer made it clear that the team will review its support of junior drivers.
“There’s lessons to be learned for sure,” said the American. “So we’ll have a good backwards look and like anything we’ll analyse, and if there’s a few things we can do better I’m sure we’ll incorporate those in our future dealings.”