The great game of musical chairs could leave Daniel Ricciardo without a seat in 2023.
The Australian star last week reaffirmed its commitment to McLaren despite Sebastian Vettel’s shock retirement, briefly leaving a seat vacant.
This was followed by the explosive news that Fernando Alonso was leaving Alpine, opening the door for Aussie Oscar Piastri to take the wheel of the F1 team.
It has been revealed Alonso’s current squad, Alpine, learned the news of his move to Aston Martin at exactly the same time as everyonethrough a press release.
Alpine is now set to play hardball with talented youngster Piastri who is managed by Australian legend Mark Webber.
Piastri and Webber have reportedly reached an agreement with McLaren with Alpine’s plan to keep Alonso on board for one more season before putting Piastri at the wheel.
Alonso’s explosive defection, however, changed all that.
The fine print of his deal with Alpine and the details of the reported arrangement Webber had with McLaren potentially point to a legal case.
Despite the storm, Alpine team boss Otmar Szafnauer confirmed he has not spoken to Webber since the news of Alonso.
Szafnauer said while he was unaware of discussions between Piastri and McLaren, he reiterated that the Australian had contractual obligations to Alpine.
“I hear the same rumors you make in the pit lane. But what I do know is that he has contractual obligations to us. And we do to him. And we have honored those obligations every year,” Szafnauer told sports car
“And those bonds last until 23, and possibly 24, if certain options are taken.”
The craziest development in the game of musical chairs is new speculation that Ricciardo could return to Alpine – the team he left to join McLaren.
Ricciardo recently decided to shut down all rumors in a defiant Instagram post.
“There have been lots of rumors surrounding my future in Formula 1, but I want you to hear it from me,” he wrote.
“I’m committed to McLaren until the end of next year and I’m not stepping away from the sport. To appreciate that it hasn’t always been easy, but who wants easy!
“I’m working my a** with the team to make improvements and get the car back to where it needs to be. I still want that more than ever.
Ricciardo’s miserable season only got worse on Sunday, finishing 15th in the Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring.
Originally published as Ricciardo’s career may be over as the game of musical chairs goes crazy