Daniel Ricciardo’s Days at McLaren F1 Are Numbered


There was solely silence after Tuesday’s contract fiasco involving Alpine F1 and Oscar Piastri. Alpine claimed the reigning F2 champ can be its 2023 F1 driver, however Piastri mentioned no approach. And all alongside, McLaren quietly watched from the sidelines hoping to stop one other prefer it skilled with Alex Palou in IndyCar. Rumors of Daniel Ricciardo’s departure from McLaren have lingered for months, however this new growth appeared to substantiate all of it. Whereas not official but, it is evident that Woking is able to commerce one Australian for the opposite come 2023. Goodbye, Ricciardo. Howdy, Piastri.

It’s a must to rewind to earlier this yr to grasp what’s really occurring right here, and it impacts Ricciardo. Piastri, Alpine’s longtime protégé, had two choices for 2023: stay reserve driver for 2023 till Alonso’s contract expired on the finish of the season, or have Alpine dealer a one-year deal for a race seat in 2023 with one other group on the grid. Then, merely leap again to Alpine as soon as Alonso left. The second choice was unlikely, however definitely not unattainable.

In accordance with Autosport, Alpine group boss Otmar Szafnauer claims that Piastri and his supervisor Mark Webber had even signed agreements already, tying the younger driver to the group till 2023, if not 2024.

“There should not be any problems,” Szafnauer advised Autosport. “If everyone seems to be true to the agreements that they signed again only some months in the past, we must always be capable to transfer ahead with the agreements that we’ve got in place. And people obligations final by way of ’23, and presumably in ’24, if some choices are taken up.”

Then Sebastian Vettel introduced he was leaving the game, opening up a seat at Aston Martin occurred. The four-time F1 champion’s retirement announcement set off the chain response that we’re witnessing as we speak. Consequently, Alonso abruptly introduced his departure from Alpine to hitch Aston Martin and left Alpine in a bizarre however considerably handy place. It might now not need to ask Piastri to remain put for an additional yr or possibly even race with one other group. It may simply hand him a full-time racing seat for 2023. Effectively, it seems Piastri and Webber had already been speaking to McLaren by then—properly forward of the F1 driver market imploding.

“I am not aware of no matter pre-arrangements he has with McLaren, if any in any respect,” Szafnauer mentioned. “However I hear the identical rumors that you just do within the pitlane. However what I do know is that he does have contractual obligations to us. And we do to him. And we have been honoring these obligations all yr.”

Motorsport.com goes so far as saying that McLaren has secured Piastri through a reserve driver deal, which can then be upgraded to a race seat when Ricciardo is proven the door on the finish of the season. Racer claims one thing related, saying that McLaren’s contract with Piastri is legitimate “after Alpine failed to finish formalities inside the timeframe it was required to.”

Both approach you prepare dinner this enchilada, all of it ends in the identical consequence: Ricciardo leaving McLaren on the finish of the present season. Hell, there’s an opportunity that even when Alpine managed to retain Piastri, McLaren would simply herald Colton Herta from IndyCar.

This leaves Ricciardo’s F1 profession in a troublesome spot. The one seats identified to be obtainable for 2023 are Mick Schumacher’s at Haas, and possibly Yuki Tsunoda’s at AlphaTauri. Rejoining the Purple Bull Racing household is probably going out of the query, in order that makes the Haas the one viable choice. Sadly for Ricciardo, Ferrari has dibs on that seat.

It is value saying that nothing is confirmed simply but. A authorized battle is probably going in Alpine and Piastri’s future, and McLaren will possible stay mum whereas that is occurring. This implies it’s going to be some time—possible months—till we hear any official information concerning Ricciardo’s luck. For the sake of the game, nonetheless, I hope the Australian finds an excellent place to race.

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