c994d02922b4f232d0dcff70499775a7084fa52a McLaren already told Daniel Ricciardo that he will be replaced by Piastri.
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McLaren already told Daniel Ricciardo that he will be replaced by Piastri.

McLaren already told Daniel Ricciardo that he will be replaced by Piastri.

Daniel has a firm contract for next season as part of the original three-year contract he signed at the beginning of 2020, when he was still at Renault.

Ricciardo and the team will now have to come to an agreement involving a substantial payment for him to leave at the end of this season. It is understood that he has no interest in moving laterally in the team's Formula E program and is determined to find another seat in F1.

The Woking-based outfit are confident they can hang on to Piastri despite Alpine's claim that they have a valid contract with the youngster for 2023.

The Enstone team made an announcement to that effect on Tuesday that was subsequently disputed by Piastri on social media. Oscar's ability to walk away from the Gallic team is believed to be based on the claim that his 2023 contract with the team was never properly signed. The July 31 date, believed to be related to an option the team had on him, is understood to be of no special relevance.

It appears that the dispute will go to the Contract Recognition Board, although there are also questions as to whether Alpine actually submitted a contract with CRB that covered 2023. It has emerged that McLaren began exploring the possibility of signing Piastri several weeks ago while looking for possible replacements for Ricciardo.

The Piastri-McLaren bond McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl is close to Piastri's manager Mark Webber, having worked with him at Porsche during the World Endurance Championship. At the time, Piastri looked set to go to Williams on a loan deal that would see him return to Alpine in 2024 or 2025. However, after McLaren showed interest, it emerged that Piastri might be a free agent for 2023 after all, and with the Woking outfit seen as a step up from Williams, negotiations became more serious.

Ricciardo, meanwhile, is clearly high on the list of possible replacements for Fernando Alonso at Alpine, although he upset senior management at Renault when they agreed his move to McLaren, and that hurdle will have to be overcome.

Haas could also be an option if, as expected, Mick Schumacher leaves, although Ferrari is theoretically entitled to decide who takes the seat. Sometimes paid offers like the one Ricciardo will receive can be affected by the fact that 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 in part so he could retain the full amount.

However, it is understood that given the sums involved required to satisfy Ricciardo's original deal, one scenario is that even if he gets a seat elsewhere, McLaren will still pay him not to race with the team in 2023.

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