It is understood that having been told his services are no longer required by the Woking team, Daniel Ricciardo is seeking a $21m (£17.3m) pay-off from McLaren.
Our good friend Mat Coch makes the revelation for Speedcafe quoting various sources.
As reported last week, established sources have confirmed that Ricciardo – seen here having his back covered by Andreas Seidl – has been told by McLaren that he will not be driving for the team next season as it has agreed a deal with Oscar Piastri.
With a drawn-out legal process involving McLaren, Alpine, Ricciardo and Piastri set to dominate the coming months, it is understood that the current incumbent at the Woking team is the only party with the right to cancel his existing contract for 2023, and to exercise that right he is seeking $21m.
However, should he secure a seat for next season, the amount offered by his new employer would have to be ‘refunded’ to McLaren.
When the Australian previously raced for Renault he was on a reputed $20m a year. Other than the fact that it is now a buyers market – with Alpine doing the buying – the French outfit and Ricciardo could agree on a much lesser salary aware that – other than the fact there are no other decent drives available – McLaren has already covered his salary.
Seemingly, Piastri does not have a valid contract with Alpine which allowed McLaren to lodge its contract with the youngster with the Contract Recognition Board.
McLaren, which in recent years has made no secret of its financial struggles, leading to it having to be bailed out by the Bahrainis on a number of occasions, would also be liable for any legal costs involving Piastri.
On Monday, Alpine boss, Otmar Szafnauer was adamant that the French team will take the matter to the High court.
“Going to the High Court is over 90% certain that’s what we’ll do,” he told Reuters. “If the CRB says ‘your licence is only valid at Alpine’, and then he says ‘that’s great but I’m never driving for them, I’ll just sit out a year’, then you’ve got to go to the High Court for compensation.”
In preparation for him joining the F1 grid, Alpine has spent millions on a series of tests at various circuits, including the Circuit of the Americas.
“We haven’t sat down with the accountants to figure out everything we’ve spent,” said Szafnauer. “We will have to do that if we go to the High Court.”