Daniel Ricciardo is demanding a mammoth payout from McLaren if he is to leave his contract early and allow fellow Australian Oscar Piastri to drive for the team in 2023, according to reports.
The 33-year-old wants compensation of US$21 million if he is terminate his contract, which expires at the end of 2023, with the English team, reports Speedcafe.
It’s understood Ricciardo is the only party who can break the contract unless there is breach of terms by the driver.
The Speedcafe story also states McLaren will receive a refund on the payout to Ricciardo based on his salary at another F1 team – if he secures a seat in 2023.
Reports have been swirling in recent weeks that Ricciardo is set to be replaced at McLaren by compatriot wonderkid Piastri.
Ricciardo was told about the decision by McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl after the Hungarian Grand Prix, with Motorsport, ESPN and racer all publishing news of the Aussie switch.
It’s understood McLaren wants to ensure the 33-year-old gets to another F1 team before announcing the recruitment of Piastri for next year, who recently denied he was driving for Alpine in 2023.
MORE: Who is Oscar Piastri? The Australian motorsport star on the verge of an F1 seat
The F1 driver merry-go-round is in full swing with Alpine initially announcing Piastri would be in their team next year as a replacement for Fernando Alonso, who was moving to Aston Martin after the retirement of Sebastian Vettel.
However, Piastri rejected the announcement by Alpine on Twitter shortly after: “I understand that, without my agreement, Alpine F1 have put out a press release late this afternoon that I am driving for them next year. This is wrong and I have not signed a contract with Alpine for 2023. I will not be driving for Alpine next year.”
It’s believed Ricciardo is a leading contender for the vacant Alpine seat, who he raced for in 2019-20 when they were known as Renault.
What is Oscar Piastri’s current role at Alpine?
Oscar Piastri is Alpine’s Formula 1 reserve driver for the 2022 season.
If required, he will step in for either of the team’s full-time drivers – Fernando Alonso or Esteban Ocon – if they are unable to race on a given weekend.
He also travels with the team to each grand prix where he sits in on driver meetings and is often active in the team garage.
Piastri is yet to fill in and race this year but could drive in a practice session during the upcoming triple header.
Alpine sporting director Alan Permane shared that the young Australian will likely feature after the mid-season summer break.
“It’s not a huge issue to find a weekend; there are plenty,” Permane said, as quoted by Fox Sports.
“I think we’ll see Oscar in our car either in Spa or Monza for the first time.”