Piastri found himself at the centre of a long-running contract saga last summer, with McLaren eventually winning a court battle to sign the highly-rated 21-year-old from under Alpine’s nose. 

Alpine felt Piastri had a moral obligation - as well as a binding agreement - to race for the team in 2023 and even went as far as announcing the Australian in their driver line-up in place of the departing Fernando Alonso

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But F1’s Contract Recognition Board ruled in McLaren’s favour amid the dispute with Alpine, paving the way for Piastri to replace Daniel Ricciardo and become teammates with Lando Norris

The situation led Alpine F1 team boss Otmar Szafnauer to call Piastri’s integrity into question after it emerged he had signed a contract with McLaren. 

But Piastri’s manager and former Red Bull driver Webber has moved to dismiss Alpine’s claims. 

"He was pretty relaxed, actually," Webber told 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 showed they are prepared to take ‘huge risk’ 

Despite winning three consecutive titles - including F3 and F2 - in a sparkling junior career, Piastri was forced to spend 2022 on the sidelines in a reserve driver role for Alpine, after missing out on a full-time F1 seat. 

Webber praised McLaren for being “prepared to take a huge risk” by handing Piastri his F1 debut.

"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."