According to Daniel Ricciardo, Mark Webber apologized for the controversy that led to Oscar Piastri taking his place at McLaren.
The eight-time Formula 1 race winner’s departure from the Woking-based team became apparent during the course of the summer when Piastri refuted Alpine’s assertion that he would be a race driver in 2023.
Prior to the Belgian Grand Prix, Ricciardo and McLaren reached an amicable agreement to part ways at the end of this year. Piastri was later named as the driver to take Ricciardo’s place after the Contract Recognition Board decided that a two-year contract signed on July 4 was still in effect despite Alpine’s objections.
In his capacity as Oscar’s manager, Webber was instrumental in securing Daniel’s position at McLaren, but afterwards offered consolation to the person who took his place at Red Bull in 2014.
“We hadn’t seen obviously each other in person,” Ricciardo said via Motorsport.com. “I feel he didn’t need to, but he felt like he wanted to, in a way, apologise and try to just see how I’m doing.”
“Obviously I know how this sport is… it’s nothing personal to me. He wanted to make sure I knew that and understood that and just to make sure I felt okay.”
“He feels really bad, obviously, how it’s gone down and obviously how things have been put out there in the media… So yeah, it was obviously nice to speak to him.”
“I’ve also spoken to Oscar and just made sure there’s no bad feelings there… I understand how this works. He’s trying to make it, he’s trying to get into Formula 1 and this moment should be also really big for him.”
“I don’t want to make it a bad situation for him…That’s that, it’s nothing personal. So that’s all the conversation was and I truly wish him well. I want him to have a good run in Formula 1.”
“So it’s just the circumstances and that’s how it is. But I still obviously like Mark a lot and respect him.”
Piastri acknowledged that it is difficult knowing that he would be kicking Ricciardo out of Formula One, but he also expressed his respect for Ricciardo.
“As a fellow Australian, it’s unfortunate that of all people on the grid it’s Daniel whom I will be replacing,” the current F2 champion said in an interview with Formula1.com. “Daniel is someone I’ve watched as a fan for over 10 years since I started racing, effectively.”
“I have immense respect for Daniel, his achievements in the sport, his race wins and podiums, but also his personality he brings to the sport. I think he’s a fantastic personality for the sport.”
“I wish him all the best for whatever his future holds. That said, I don’t get to choose which driver I replace. I can’t take an opportunity because the previous driver in that seat was Daniel.”
“McLaren were extremely keen to have me on board and it was an opportunity that was too good to refuse.”