David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports
Oscar Piastri is set to drive for McLaren starting in 2023 as the organization will work on releasing Daniel Ricciardo early from his contract, according to RacingNews365.com.
What is the information behind Piastri’s contract and what options could be available for Ricciardo?
Information on Oscar Piastri’s new contract with McLaren
Oscar Piastri’s new deal with McLaren has not been announced yet, but the FIA’s contract recognition board has reportedly validated the driver’s contract amid Alpine’s announcement.
It appears Piastri does not have a contract with Alpine after the option was not picked up in time after Fernando Alonso left the organization for Aston Martin this past Monday.
Alpine is now set to lose both two-time world champion Alonso and future world champion Piastri. It’s a mega disaster for the team as their past, present, and future are all gone.
The contract for Piastri is reportedly for a reserve seat that will be upgraded to an actual race seat if/when Ricciardo’s early release is agreed upon between both parties.
It’s a stunning turn of events after Alpine announced the 21-year-old’s involvement in their 2023 driver lineup. However, they are not in a great place to fight for Piastri’s services.
This is a different situation from Alex Palou and McLaren as the defending NTT IndyCar Series champion had a true option on his reported contract while Piastri is not under contract.
Due to Oscar Piastri not having a contract with Alpine, the team will further work on Ricciardo’s release as his future now becomes murky, even though many teams have contacted the Australian driver.
Options for Daniel Ricciardo after his inevitable release
Daniel Ricciardo and McLaren will work on the driver’s release from the team after they agreed to a contract with Oscar Piastri for the 2023 season and likely beyond.
At the end of the day, Ricciardo could easily opt-out of his contract before the September deadline, but he would be losing out on the money he deserves from his contract.
McLaren has gone this far to secure Piastri’s services so it seems likely they would continue to spend and make the situation work for every single party involved.
Ricciardo’s best option is to replace Fernando Alonso at Alpine. Ironically, Alpine is the team Ricciardo left for McLaren after spending a few years with them.
Related: Daniel Ricciardo may land at Alpine F1 in 2023
Another option could be Haas with Mick Schumacher likely being on the move as the team wants a change next season. However, Ferrari owns the seat and would likely need to approve the 33-year-old driver.
If neither of those teams, it has been reported that four teams have reached out to Ricciardo. In the assumption that both Alpine and Haas are included, it might see Alfa Romeo and Williams in the list too.
Ricciardo’s best option remains coming back to his former team and Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer has previously stated that it’s not an issue if he wanted to come back.
The Australian driver could also jump to Alfa Romeo and team up with Valtteri Bottas. Both drivers could use it as a reset for their careers, but it would end up with the removal of Zhou Guanyu.
First and foremost, Ricciardo still needs to negotiate his first issue with McLaren before moving on to other options. However, it appears that Ricciardo might have seen the writing on the wall after contacting Alpine earlier this week.
In a weird twist, if Ricciardo ends up at Alpine, it would be an upgraded seat as the team boasts the fourth-best season in terms of constructor points behind Red Bull, Ferrari, and Mercedes.
There’s still work to be done but the end result is clear. Oscar Piastri is taking his talents to McLaren in an unexpected silly season move that shakes the foundation of the Formula 1 grid moving forward.