Daniel Ricciardo has been officially informed by the McLaren Formula 1 team that Oscar Piastri will take his place in the following season.
McLaren is believed to have signed Piastri on a reserve driver contract for 2023, which it intends to upgrade to a race seat if a plan for Ricciardo’s early exit is eventually agreed upon. Ricciardo has a firm McLaren contract for next season as part of the original three-year deal he signed while still at Renault in early 2020. Ricciardo and the team must now reach an agreement involving a significant pay-off in order for him to leave at the end of this season.
He is believed to be determined to find another seat in Formula One and has no interest in moving sideways into the team’s Formula E programme. Despite Alpine’s assertion that it has a legally binding contract with the young player through 2023, the Woking team is confident that it can hold onto Piastri. On Tuesday, the Enstone team made a statement to that effect, which Piastri later disputed on social media.
The argument that Piastri’s 2023 contract with Alpine was never properly signed is thought to be the basis for his ability to leave the organization. It is believed that the July 31 date, which is generally believed to be connected to an option the team had on him, is of no particular significance. Although there is some doubt as to whether Alpine actually filed a contract with the CRB that covered 2023, it appears that the dispute will go before the Contract Recognition Board.
McLaren began investigating the possibility of hiring Oscar Piastri several weeks ago as it looked for possible replacements for Ricciardo. Andreas Seidl, McLaren team principal, is close to Piastri’s manager Mark Webber, having worked with him at Porsche in the FIA World Endurance Championship. Piastri appeared to be on his way to Williams on a loan deal that would see him return to Alpine in 2024 or possibly 2025. However, after McLaren expressed interest, it became clear that Piastri could be a free agent for 2023 after all, and with the Woking team seen as a step up from Williams, talks became more serious.
Daniel Ricciardo is clearly high on the list of possible Alpine replacements for Fernando Alonso, despite upsetting Renault top management when he agreed to join McLaren, which will have to be overcome. If Mick Schumacher leaves, as expected, Haas could be an option, though Ferrari has a say in who takes his place. Pay-off deals, such as the one Ricciardo is set to receive, can sometimes be jeopardized if the driver in question later finds a seat elsewhere.