Apparently, Oscar Piastri ‘s initial contract with McLaren for 2023 is in the role of reserve driver , with the intention of moving him to an official seat, provided an agreement is reached for the early departure of Daniel Ricciardo.
The latter still has a contract with McLaren for next season as part of the original three-year deal he signed in early 2020, when he was still at Renault. Ricciardo and the team will have to reach a deal involving a substantial payment for him to leave at the end of this season.
It has emerged that he has no interest in moving up to the team’s Formula E programme, and is determined to find another seat in F1.
The Woking team is confident of being able to retain Piastri, despite the fact that Alpine states that it has a valid contract with the young driver for 2023. The Enstone team made an announcement on Tuesday, which was denied by Piastri on his networks shortly after. social.
The possibility of Piastri leaving Alpine is believed to be based on his 2023 contract with the team never being properly signed. The July 31 date – which is believed to be related to an option the team had on him – seems to be of little relevance.
It looks like the dispute will go back to the Contract Recognition Board (CBR), although there is also some question as to whether Alpine actually submitted a contract with the CRB covering the 2023 season.
It has emerged that McLaren began exploring the possibility of hiring Piastri several weeks ago, in the midst of a search for possible replacements for Ricciardo. Team principal Andreas Seidl has a close friendship with Mark Webber, a former F1 driver and current manager of the young Australian, having worked closely with him in the WEC.
At the time, it looked like Piastri would end up at Williams on loan from Alpine, returning to the French team in 2024 or 2025.
However, after McLaren showed interest in the youngster, it emerged that Piastri could be a free agent for 2023, and with the British considered to be a better team than Williams, negotiations became more serious.
Ricciardo, for his part, is clearly on the list of possible replacements for Fernando Alonso in Alpine, although the Renault leadership does not have the best memory of his departure when he left for McLaren, and it is an obstacle that he will have to overcome.
Haas could also be an option if, as expected, Mick Schumacher leaves the American structure, although Ferrari theoretically has the right to decide who takes that seat.
Sometimes severance deals like the one Ricciardo could receive can be affected if the driver in question finds a seat elsewhere. When Kimi Raikkonen was sacked by Ferrari at the end of 2009, he spent two years out of F1, partly so he could collect the full amount.
Apparently, however, given the sums required to satisfy Ricciardo’s original deal, one of the scenarios is that, even if he gets a seat elsewhere, he could still receive a salary from McLaren so as not to race for the team instead. 2023.
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