Oscar Piastri’s future in Formula 1 is not yet clear, at least officially. But McLaren is confident of bringing the youngster on board as a replacement for Daniel Ricciardo. The team announced on Wednesday that it will part ways with Ricciardo at the end of the season – a year earlier than planned.
Ricciardo’s original contract still had one year to run. But after the hoped-for results failed to materialise, McLaren wants to reorient itself and agreed on a termination agreement with the Australian. He is to be succeeded by Piastri.
However, the 2021 Formula 2 champion is in a contract dispute with Alpine. There, the opinion is that Piastri, who is Alpine’s reserve driver, will drive for their team next season. This was even announced at the beginning of August.
However, Piastri himself then clarified that he had not signed anything and would not drive for the team in 2023, but for McLaren. Since both Alpine and McLaren claim that their contracts are watertight, the matter will now probably be decided by Formula One’s Contract Recognition Committee.
McLaren has yet to make an official announcement about its plans with Piastri. The team first wanted to ensure that the situation with Ricciardo was clarified – also so that he could seek an alternative cockpit for next year.
However, speaking to selected media on Wednesday, McLaren CEO Zak Brown made it clear that the team was sure of what it was going to do. “We are obviously very confident about our future, which we will announce in due course,” stressed the American.
“We want to focus on racing this weekend and the rest of the year. That’s why we felt it was important to make this announcement today,” Brown said.
“We have a very friendly relationship with Daniel and it’s obviously disappointing that it’s coming to an end in this way. But we think back to things like Monza, which was personally my most exciting moment in my whole time here at McLaren, standing on the podium with Daniel and Lando.”
— Daniel Ricciardo (@danielricciardo) August 24, 2022
“Yes, the result is disappointing, but we’re looking forward to the rest of the year, as is Daniel, and we’ll announce our future in due course.” That’s why McLaren tem boss Andreas Seidl believes it’s premature to discuss the potential risk of replacing Ricciardo with a rookie.
“To be honest, I have no interest in making that comparison at the moment,” says the German. “Today is about Daniel and the whole weekend in Spa will be about Daniel,
“We want to keep going… Daniel also wants to continue. And we’ll only talk about the future afterwards.”