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Ricciardo rocked by team's brutal contract call

Wide World of Sports logo Wide World of Sports 2 days ago Damien McCartney

McLaren has reportedly informed Daniel Ricciardo it intends to replace him with fellow Australian Oscar Piastri for the 2023 season.

After weeks of speculation, Autosport is reporting the team will enter settlement negotiations with Ricciardo, who was contracted with the team until the end of 2023.

The publication indicated that Ricciardo may have been offered a seat in McLaren's Formula E team, which the 33-year-old refused.

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It's understood that any performance clauses in Ricciardo's contract with McLaren sat with the Western Australian, meaning only he could leave the team if it was not performing to his standards and not the other way around.

Paying him out of the contract could cost the Woking squad as much as $21 million.

On the other side of the coin, paying off Alpine for Piastri could also cost McLaren a bucketload, depending on whether or not the issue goes to court.

Daniel Ricciardo ahead the Hungarian Grand Prix. Photo: Marco Canoniero © Getty Daniel Ricciardo ahead the Hungarian Grand Prix. Photo: Marco Canoniero

According to Autosport, in a massive bureaucratic bungle from Alpine, Piastri is able to walk away from the Enstone squad because the 2023 deal was never properly signed, nor submitted to the FIA's Contract Recognition Board.

The CRB was set up in 1991 after Michael Schumacher signed with the Benetton team - now the modern-day Alpine squad - having already agreed to drive for Jordan, now the modern-day Aston Martin.

The fact the CRB board even exists speaks volumes.

Leaving McLaren will leave Ricciardo with several options.


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The one seen as the most likely is a reunion with Alpine, who he left after just two seasons at the end of the 2020 season.

Daniel Ricciardo stalking the two Alpines of Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon during the most recent Hungarian Grand Prix. Photo: Dan Istitene © Formula 1 via Getty Images Daniel Ricciardo stalking the two Alpines of Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon during the most recent Hungarian Grand Prix. Photo: Dan Istitene

A polarising figure, Cyril Abiteboul was team principal during Ricciardo's time at the team in 2019-2020.

When Ricciardo announced his departure from the team for McLaren ahead of the delayed 2020 season, Abiteboul was one of his most vocal critics.

Behind the scenes, cultural issues were touted as one of the reasons Ricciardo wanted out. Abiteboul was sacked ahead of the 2021 season, with Renault citing a difference in cultural fit.

Otmar Szafnauer is at the helm now. A much different character to Abiteboul, he could be enough to lure Ricciardo back across the channel.

Mick Schumacher of Haas during practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix. Photo: Peter J Fox © Getty Mick Schumacher of Haas during practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix. Photo: Peter J Fox

After several huge crashes costing his team several million dollars in damage, Mick Schumacher's future in the sport remains in doubt, so a vacancy at Haas may also be an option.

Ricciardo remains one of the most marketable personalities in the sport, and is already popular in the US and spends a lot of time there. He has a house in LA, so the team could certainly do worse than signing him.

Haas already has Kevin Magnussen locked in for the 2023 season, which would make the line-up one of the most experienced on the grid.

F1's owner, Liberty Media, has also invested heavily in the US, having added a second US-based grand prix this year in Miami, before a third launches in Las Vegas next year.

Williams would be another option. Nicholas Latifi has been thoroughly disappointing throughout the 2022 season, and there were strong suggestions he was to be replaced by Piastri from July's British Grand Prix.

Alex Albon in action for Williams at Imola. © Getty Alex Albon in action for Williams at Imola.

It's believed that didn't happen because it was about then that Piastri's manager, Mark Webber, started talks with McLaren.

Alex Albon has just re-signed on a multi-year deal, but the Williams is still one of the slowest cars on the track.

Those remain the most likely options.

Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari and now Aston Martin have all already confirmed their driver line-ups for 2023, while open seats at Alfa Romeo and AlphaTauri are considered highly unlikely.

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