Daniel Ricciardo declared he will rejoin McLaren Racing for the 2023 season, however Oscar Piastri is said to have a seat deal with the team, so things may change.
Esteban Ocon and Oscar Piastri were confirmed as Alpine’s 2023 lineup, however Piastri criticized that decision on Twitter by announcing that he wouldn’t be driving for the team in 2023.
Daniel Ricciardo appears to be potentially leaving McLaren, but Piastri is adamant about competing for the second slot. But in a possible move, Ricciardo might hold the cards.
If Piastri secures the ride, Ricciardo has until September to let the team know whether he would exercise his option to keep his seat or give it to Piastri.
Although it would be simple to claim that Ricciardo would just exercise his option, if he can find another job while Piastri joining the company looks unavoidable, it could be best to depart at the end of 2022.
No matter what happens, it seems like the 33-year-old will be leaving after the 2023 season. Getting a ride now is preferable to waiting, knowing that he will have left by then.
If Ricciardo chooses to exercise the option, McLaren would be responsible for the penalties associated with their early termination of his contract and might be able to sign him to a new deal with them.
It seems obvious that Ricciardo will leave McLaren in either case. In order to get their hands on their brand-new toy if they prevail in the inescapable court fights, the organization probably hopes he declines to exercise his option.
Daniel Ricciardo allegedly contacted Alpine team owner Otmar Szafnauer after the Hungarian Grand Prix this past weekend despite his commitment to McLaren.
Given his alternatives, the 33-year-old may decide that Alpine is a better choice because they are now ahead of McLaren in the constructor’s championship, where they are ranked fourth.
Szafnauer didn’t appear to have a problem with the notion when approached by Motorsport about the possibility of having Ricciardo drive for the team.
“I mean, if you look at Fernando [Alonso], for example, he comes and goes, and I think that happens to other drivers too and I don’t think that’s an issue at all,” Alpine F1 team boss Otmar Szafnauer said. “I think what we need to focus on is, like I say, the plans that we have for the next 88-89 races.”
“We’ve got to make sure that we complement that plan with the best driver that we can, and there are some options out there for us. And we put the best driver in next to Esteban [Ocon], so that we can move forward towards what we’ve been planning.”
Following Ricciardo’s departure from the team at the end of the 2020 campaign to team up with Lando Norris at McLaren, this has happened. There’s little doubt that so far, things haven’t gone according to plan.
Although Alpine still seems confident that Oscar Piastri will be in their lineup for the upcoming season, they appear to be leaning toward pursuing the strongest driver available. At this time, Ricciardo would be the best driver on the market if he were available. For Alpine and Ricciardo, everything comes together at the end of the day.
The lineups for the top three teams in the standings are determined, so if Ricciardo were to transfer to an upgraded seat at Alpine, the top four teams would also be decided.