McLaren He is believed to have originally signed Piastri to a reserve driver contract for 2023, which he intends to turn into a racing seat, assuming an early exit plan for Ricciardo is finally agreed.
Ricciardo has a firm McLaren contract for next season as part of the initial three-year deal he signed in early 2020 while still at Renault.
Ricciardo and the team will now have to agree a settlement involving a substantial payout for him to leave at the end of this season.
It is understood he has no interest in moving laterally in the team’s Formula E program and is determined to find another seat in F1.
The Woking side are confident they can keep Piastri despite Alpine‘s claim to have a valid contract with the youngster for 2023.
The Enstone team made an announcement to this effect on Tuesday which was subsequently challenged by Piastri on social networks.
Oscar Piastri, reserve driver, Alpine F1 Team
Photo by: Motorsport pictures
Piastri’s ability to walk away from Alpine is believed to be based on a claim that his 2023 contract with the team was never properly signed. The July 31 date – widely believed to be related to an option the team had on him – is considered to be of no particular relevance.
The dispute is expected to go to the Contract Recognition Board, although there is also a question of whether or Alpine actually filed a contract with the CRB that covered 2023.
It has emerged that McLaren began exploring the possibility of signing Piastri several weeks ago as they looked for possible replacements for Ricciardo.
McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl close to Piastri manager Mark Webberhaving worked with him with Porsche in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
At this time, Piastri seemed ready to go to williams on a loan deal that would see him return to Alpine in 2024 or possibly 2025.
However, after McLaren expressed interest, it appeared Piastri could be a free agent for 2023 after all, and with Woking’s outfit seen as a step up from Williams, negotiations have turned more serious.
Ricciardo, meanwhile, is clearly high on the list of possible replacements for Fernando Alonso at Alpine, although he upset the management of Renault when he accepted his transfer to McLaren, and this obstacle will have to be overcome.
Sometimes paid offers like the one Ricciardo is about to receive can be affected by the driver concerned subsequently finding a seat elsewhere. When Kimi Raikkonen was dropped by Ferrari at the end of 2009, he spent two years out of F1 partly so he could keep the full amount.
However, it is understood that given the sums needed to satisfy Ricciardo’s initial deal, one scenario is that even if he lands elsewhere he could end up being paid by McLaren not to race for the team in 2023. .