Otmar Szafnauer has mentioned in no uncertain terms that Daniel Ricciardo joining the Alpine racing team is no issue; not for him, not for his team. In other words, there’s no problem at all if Daniel Ricciardo joins the Alpine team, as per Otmar Szafnauer.
And while the truth is that the Enstone-based side are keen for Ricciardo to join the stable, should it pan out like that, something else too could happen; what’s also true is that, there’s uncertainty regarding the Australian’s future team. True for the current moment!
A no brainer that it may sound, only two things can happen from here on to Daniel Ricciardo’s imminent F1 future: either he will leave McLaren, the chances of which, at least, as of now seem bleak or, he will continue there at the legendary English team.
But should the former actually happen for real, the Perth-born driver, who has raced for teams like Red Bull and Scuderia Toro Rosso could end up in either of the three teams: Williams or Alpine.
In the current annals of the sport, ever Sebastian Vettel has announced his retirement, stating in no uncertain terms that he shall not be participating in Formula 1 post the current season, there’s been some sort of skirmish regarding who goes where. And truth be told, Alonso’s decision and later, his new team’s confirmation that he will be driving for Alpine means that there is, for now, a vacant seat at the Alpine racing team.
Just when everything was smooth and the only puzzle, if any, was about the the racing futures of Daniel Ricciardo, Nicholas Latifi and Oscar Piastri (yet to break into F1, officially speaking), there emerged confusion with Piastri’s very vocal message, where the 21-year-old clearly denied joining Alpine.
For now, confusion still runs amok as to whether Alpine and Oscar Piastri are a pair for 2023. The Aussie denies it, his possible maiden F1 side insists, he’s on for 2023.
Who’s to be believed?
All of that when the picture regarding Daniel Ricciardo at McLaren is still quite hazy.
Evidently, there’s the exit clause that the Honeybadger has that can be used as an instrument to eek out a departure from McLaren. Arguably speaking, given Alonso’s exit at Alpine means that there’s a place up for grabs, how realistic are the chances of the experienced F1 driver, one responsible for double and triple overtakes in challenging venues, to race for what was formerly Renault?
The following is what Otmar Szafnauer had to say in regards to his decision on Ricciardo:
I mean, if you look at Fernando, for example, he comes and goes, and I think that happens to other drivers too,” he said.
“And I don’t think that’s an issue at all. I think what we need to focus on is, like I say, the plans that we have for the next 89-88 races.
“We’ve got to make sure that we complement that plan with the best driver that we can, and there are some options out there for us. And we put the best driver in next to Esteban [Ocon], so that we can move forward towards what we’ve been planning.”
All of that being said, it’s clear that Daniel Ricciardo isn’t done just yet in Formula 1 and that he wishes to continue. Perhaps it may seem random but truth is that behind that clowning around and goofy smile is a steely resolve that hasn’t yet found the instrument to truly manifest itself.