Last weekend’s Formula 1 British Grand Prix was like many other weekends since Daniel Ricciardo joined McLaren, the Australian was definitively the second driver within the team having qualified a lowly 14th compared to Norris’ sixth. Ricciardo crossed the line 13th whereas his team-mate, Lando Norris, had a chance of a podium finish before eventually having to settle for sixth. This race appears to be a watershed moment for Ricciardo with his McLaren team, with both parties looking to part ways, with the team from Woking keeping a close eye on his replacement, a rookie from Australia.
In contrast, Lando Norris, who is committed to McLaren until the end of 2025, explained to Sky Sports over the weekend why he is confident in the team’s future and why he has not been tempted to change teams like his team mate Daniel Ricciardo.
“I haven’t been in [Daniels] situation, so it’s hard for me to speak for others, but you see a lot of other drivers, not just Daniel, moving from team to team and it’s obviously not easy to get there and be successful.” said Norris.
“It takes time. Some people are able to do it quicker than others, but it shows how difficult it is, it also shows that it’s not an easy car to drive, you really have to understand everything to be on the limit.” explains Norris when describing the troubles Ricciardo is facing.
Regardless of the reasons, Ricciardo is questioning his own abilities and motivations after such a long period of up and (mostly) down performances. Further, this website has published several articles in the recent past about McLaren’s patience running out with Ricciardo. The Australian has failed to deliver despite a hefty salary, far eclipsing Norris’s. Team boss Zak Brown has already admitted publicly that there are mechanism’s in place for Ricciardo to leave the team early following the statement in an interview during the Spanish Grand Prix that “Apart from Monza 2021 and a few other races, it’s [Ricciardo] not up to his or our expectations,”
So for the future, it is rumoured that during the summer break, a new driver will be announced with Daniel Ricciardo leaving McLaren, and most likely, leaving Formula 1 entirely with a large sum of money in his pocket. Quite who will replace the Australian is yet to be understood but one name is becoming heard more often. The rookie Oscar Piastri could well be the man to replace Ricciardo, as hinted by this website some time ago.
Sources close to the team suggest that team principal Andreas Seidl seems it be very interested in Piastri, and is set to offer a drive, around the summer break, for a 2023 race seat alongside Norris. Whether it happens remains to be seen, but Piastri’s manager is Mark Webber and that particular Australian is very close to Seidl from the Porsche WEC days, and talks have been ramping up since the prospect that Piastri’s current stable, Alpine (Renault), will be extending Fernando Alonso’s contract beyond next year.
In October 2019, Piastri joined the post-season test with reigning F3 champions Prema racing and was signed alongside Logan Seargent for the 2020 season. He debuted at the Red Bull Ring by qualifying P3, going on to win the race. Pastry after an eventful season claimed the championship in his rookie year.
In December 2020, Piastri announced that he would continue with Prema into Formula 2 replacing the departing Mick Schumacher. Despite a turbulent season, Pastry claimed the Formula 2 drivers’ title and joined an exclusive club of drivers to win GP2/F1 in their rookie season.
He also became just the fifth driver after Hamilton, Hülkenberg, Leclerc and Russell to win the GP3/F3 title, and then the GP2/F2 title the following year, and the first driver to win three consecutive F1 feeder series’ championships, with his 2019 Formula Renault Eurocup title.
The kid is hot to trot and given the performance of the likes of Latiffi and Lance Stroll he should be a shoe in to McLaren or any Formula One team looking to recruit on talent.