Alpine boss opens the door for Daniel Ricciardo return amid Oscar Piastri saga
Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer has insisted the team would have no qualms about re-signing Daniel Ricciardo amid speculation the Australian could be replaced at McLaren by Oscar Piastri.
Alpine are at the centre of a major dispute triggered by Fernando Alonso’s decision to leave the Renault-backed squad for Aston Martin. Alpine intend to replace the Spaniard with Piastri, their highly-rated reserve driver.
Alpine’s declaration that Piastri would be racing for them in 2023 was swiftly rejected by the driver himself, who says he will be competing elsewhere next year. Alpine insist their contract with Piastri is solid, with the standoff set to dominate the F1 rumour mill during the summer break.
READ MORE: Fernando Alonso embarrasses Alpine boss with cheeky message amid Oscar Piastri chaos
One solution could see Piastri move to McLaren with Ricciardo going in the opposite direction. The 33-year-old raced for Alpine – then competing as Renault – in 2019 and 2020, having left Red Bull.
Ricciardo upset Renault by signing for McLaren ahead of the delayed 2020 season, but his move to the Woking stable has been hugely disappointing, aside from his shock win at Monza last year.
Therefore, Ricciardo may welcome a move back to Alpine, where he performed impressively. And Szafnauer, who was team boss at Aston Martin at the time, insists there are no hard feelings towards the Australian and has pointed out Alonso’s habit of returning to teams he has raced for previously.
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“I mean, if you look at Fernando, for example, he comes and goes, and I think that happens to other drivers too,” he said, reported Autosport, speaking before Piastri's denial that he has signed for Alpine for 2023.
“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.”
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