Daniel Ricciardo is reportedly seeking a $21m payment from McLaren in order to make way for fellow Australian Oscar Piastri in the Woking-based team.
Ricciardo has what appears to be a watertight contract for 2023, which means McLaren will have to convince him to step down in favor of Piastri.
If Ricciardo is able to secure a ride elsewhere for next season, any money he earns would then be deducted from the McLaren payment.
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McLaren are expected to reject Ricciardo’s initial request, with negotiations over a final price expected to take place in the coming weeks.
Australia’s last world champion, Alan Jones, wrote in his Wide World of Sports column on Tuesday that Ricciardo would “definitely” not be at McLaren in 2023.
“There is no way in the whole world this is happening,” Jones wrote.
It was also reported that Piastri never had a contract with the Alpine F1 team, only with his academy, meaning the deal was never filed with the Contract Recognition Board (CRB) of Formula 1.
The CRB therefore accepted Piastri’s McLaren deal as it did not conflict with any other F1 contract. However, that doesn’t mean the 21-year-old’s deal with the Alpine academy isn’t enforceable in court.
Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer has already flagged the possibility of legal action if Piastri does not drive for the team next year.
“I expected more loyalty from Oscar than he shows,” he told Spanish publication El Confidencial.
“I started in 1989 in Formula 1 and I’ve never seen anything like it. And it’s not about Formula 1, it’s about integrity as a human being.”
“We have a contract with Piastri, which he signed in November, we spoke to our lawyers and they told us that it was a binding contract, so part of this contract allows us to put Oscar in one of our cars in 2023.”
The standoff between McLaren and Alpine for the services of Piastri shows just how highly rated the Melburnian is in F1 circles, despite the fact that he is yet to make his Grand Prix debut.
“The way this is going is something completely new, they have a major fight for someone who they hope will become a great Formula 1 driver,” Jones wrote.
“All the signs indicate it will be, but until you actually start a race there is a little question mark.”
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