Brown: Piastri showed 'tough character' amid 'unpleasant' accusations

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McLaren boss Zak Brown says he was particularly impressed by young hopeful Oscar Piastri's character during last summer's contract saga with Alpine.

Piastri was propelled into the limelight following Fernando Alonso's unexpected decision to leave Alpine and to move to Aston Martin, a switch that compelled the French outfit to promote its junior charger to a race seat for 2023 alongside Esteban Ocon.

But Piastri declined the offer, claiming that he had not signed a valid contract with Alpine for 2023, a statement that the French team rebuked through the voice of its team manager, Otmar Szafnauer who accused Piastri of lacking loyalty and integrity when it became known that he would be racing for McLaren in 2023.

The contractual conflict was eventually settled by the FIA's Contract Recognition Board in favour of the young Aussie, but throughout the process, Piastri kept a low profile and refrained from pouring oil on the fire.

"Very focused, very mature, determined, doesn’t seem to have a lot of ups and downs in his emotions," Brown told Speedcafe when asked to describe first impressions of Daniel Ricciardo's replacement.

"And I saw a lot of that through the turmoil over the summer. You know, he’s a 21-year-old and here you have a big OEM [Original Equipment Manufacturer - Alpine] making accusations and taking you to court.

"You have to be a pretty tough character as a 21-year-old to be unfazed by that, and he was, and he kept his head down, and I think he’s going to let his driving do his talking."

Brown was impressed with Piastri's calm and composed attitude.

"He didn’t get into a war of words, even though Otmar said some very unpleasant and inaccurate statements. You know, Oscar didn’t rise to that," added the McLaren boss.

"So what I see is a very focused, determined, mature 21-year-old. That’s what I see out of the car, and in the car, we see the same thing and we see that he’s very fast."

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