According to reports, Daniel Ricciardo has set a price for leaving McLaren and allowing Oscar Piastri to take his place in 2023.
After Aston Martin announced Fernando Alonso will take Sebastian Vettel’s seat for the upcoming season, the driver market for Formula 1 immediately began to erupt.
Before Piastri publicly denied signing a contract with the Enstone-based team, it had been anticipated and announced that he would replace the Spaniard at Alpine.
This is because Piastri, the current F2 champion, is said to have signed a contract with McLaren to serve as the team’s reserve driver in Hungary in 2023, despite the fact that Ricciardo was notified by the team the same weekend that Piastri would actually be taking his position.
The eight-time Grand Prix winner will need to be persuaded to use an escape provision in his contract or have it bought out in order to accomplish that, as McLaren lacks a method to fire Daniel themselves.
The 33-year-old has put an opening demand of $21 million on the table if McLaren wants him to go, despite long-standing assurances to the contrary made by Ricciardo.
The amount, according to the publication, is likely to be adjusted as negotiations progress and would only be fully paid if Ricciardo didn’t secure another F1 seat for the 2023 season. His pay would then be given back to McLaren if he did find another place to live in 2023, like moving back to Alpine.
With the exception of one weekend in Italy over a year ago, Ricciardo’s arduous two-year McLaren stint does appear to be coming to an untimely end.
The Australian has been consistently outperformed by colleague Lando Norris because he has just been unable to grasp the distinctive features of the 2021 and 2022 McLaren cars throughout that time. Ricciardo acknowledges that he hasn’t performed up to expectations, but he insists that the process has advanced significantly since last year.
“This time last year there was probably a little more head-scratching from everyone,” the Aussie said. “I think that’s because…the truth is, they just expected me to get into the team and kick ass.”
“So there was probably still some pure head-scratching, like ‘hmmm, what’s happening?’
“That was probably overriding what needed to happen. I’m just speculating, but maybe too much energy was put into the why’s and this and that before it was ‘what do we need to do now to make him feel better?’.
“But this year, there’s more understanding and they know me now after a year, so I think it’s very clear what I like in a car, and even I’ve found this out.”
“So when I struggle, the team now are like ‘oh, I can see it in the data, this is what Daniel is feeling and he’s proven in the last 18 months this is what he doesn’t like to feel. This is what’s holding him back from pushing the car to the limit, it’s this area here’.
“Whereas last year, it was still a little bit of ‘f***, what is it? What’s holding him back? Why’s he so much off the pace?”
Ricciardo is eager to make his mark in the final nine races of 2022, even before it became apparent to the public that his F1 career is in jeopardy.
“A bit like last year… kind of start that second half of this season with a positive bang and just get the ball rolling. The triple-header, it’s intense,” he said. “So I think come out and set some strong intentions. That’s the plan. Obviously, it’s easier said than done. But that’s certainly the plan.”