Ricciardo’s future has been a hot topic in an underwhelming campaign and, despite telling Crash.Net “I have not forgotten how to drive” several months ago, he is set to be ushered out of McLaren.
His current contract expires at the end of the 2023 season but Zak Brown, the McLaren CEO previously revealed that clauses existed to end it early. That option will be taken at the end of this season and Ricciardo has been informed, ESPN report.
McLaren opted not to comment when asked by Crash.Net.
Piastri, the F2 champion who is at the centre of a tug-of-war with Alpine, will step into Ricciardo’s seat.
It is the latest major move for a fascinating 2023 F1 driver line-up kickstarted by Sebastian Vettel’s retirement and Fernando Alonso’s move from Alpine to Aston Martin.
Alpine announced that Piastri, one of the brightest emerging talents in the sport, would replace Alonso but he immediately reacted “that is wrong”.
The FIA contract recognition board has recognised Piastri’s deal with McLaren above a contract he has with Alpine which expires at the end of 2022, RacingNews365 reported.
McLaren are stalling on confirming Piastri as their new driver for 2023 until they have helped Ricciardo find a new drive, report Racer.com.
Alpine are the obvious choice. The vacancy caused by Alonso’s move will not be filled by Piastri after all, so they need a driver.
They currently pay Alonso a reported £14.9m per season – the fourth highest salary among drivers for 2022 – so should be able to afford Ricciardo, who currently pockets £12.2m per season from McLaren.
Ricciardo spent two seasons with Renault before they rebranded and became Alpine.
Haas have not yet confirmed Mick Schumacher as their driver beyond the end of this season. Schumacher has veered between poor performances and flirting with the idea of eventually moving to Ferrari, where his father was a legend, but Ricciardo’s availability will give Haas options at the negotiating table.
Williams have a seat vacant alongside Alex Albon. Nicholas Latifi has been tipped to leave although Nyck de Vries or Logan Sargeant are younger, likelier options.
Alfa Romeo have Valtteri Bottas signed up for 2023 but haven’t confirmed Zhou Guanyu’s spot beyond the end of this year. Yuki Tsunoda’s future with AlphaTauri, who also have Pierre Gasly, is also unconfirmed. Although Zhou and Tsunoda are among the lowest-earners on the 2022 grid so replacing them with the veteran Australian would be costly.
Ricciardo has previously been linked with a switch to IndyCar, too.