Daniel Ricciardo may be well outside the top 10 of the F1 driver standings, but he remains one of the most popular figures in the sport.
And his army of followers was in full force after it was revealed McLaren plans to replace him with young Australian driver Oscar Piastri next season despite Ricciardo’s contract for 2023.
The 33-year-old’s career has been on something of a downward spiral since outplaying Sebastian Vettel and regularly challenging Max Verstappen at Red Bull. But no one wants to see it end like this.
ESPN’s Nate Saunders reported that four teams recently polled Ricciardo to “see where his head is at” and criticized McLaren for their treatment of the Australian.
“This reflects very poorly on Brown and McLaren how they have treated Ricciardo over the past six months,” Saunders wrote. “Ricciardo, the only McLaren driver to win an F1 race since 2012, was the first to admit his performance fell short of the standards he set for himself at Red Bull and Renault, but it feels like he was made as a scapegoat to distract from the team’s deeper issues.
He wasn’t the only one to hail the Aussie’s class in a turbulent season.
“In the midst of all the heckling and pressure you have to commend Ricciardo for his grace and professionalism over the past few months,” Tom Gaymor tweeted. “It all says about him as a man, he’s a classy actor and I hope he continues to smile and do it his way.”
But others saw it differently, believing Ricciardo to be a depleted force and his replacement part and parcel of the trenchant nature of F1.
“Ricciardo tastes his own medicine when he left Renault to join McLaren and this is proof that it was not the right decision for him,” tweeted Sahil Mohan Gupta. “Now he will probably end up at Alpine if he doesn’t leave F1. It’s crazy.”
“I will always be a Ricciardo fan, but can you really blame McLaren?” added Gannon Burgett. “They’re paying it in the ass for a driver who’s only scored 20% of the team’s points so far.”
“Please Alpine don’t take it back!” Tiff Needell tweeted. “I love Daniel, but he spent 12 years in F1, had a few million in the bank and he could do a lot of other motorsports. So give someone else a chance!
Despite the rapid turn of events this week, Ricciardo’s future could take a long time to settle as McLaren will likely face a challenge from Alpine over their poaching of Piastri.
The Western Australian could spend a year with McLaren’s IndyCar team to see his deal, or could receive a payment and join another team. This team could even be Alpine if Piastri is able to leave.
Who is Oscar Piastri?
Melbourne-born Piastri joined Alpine’s academy after securing the Formula Renault Eurocup title in 2019, claiming seven wins.
He carried form into the Formula 3 series in 2020, winning the opening race on his debut and keeping his composure to claim the title by three points in one of the most contested championships of all time.
The following year he was on the Formula 2 grid, where he recorded six victories to unequivocally announce his arrival on the world stage, becoming only the third rookie champion after Charles Leclerc (2017) and George Russell (2018). They are now both in F1.
Despite his rapid rise, Piastri has been overlooked for a race in Formula 1 this season due to a lack of available seats, instead hiding on the sidelines at Alpine, ready to replace Esteban Ocon or Alonso if they were forced to miss out. a race.
It is run by fellow Australian and nine-time F1 race winner Mark Webber. “Does he deserve to be in F1? Absolutely, we all know that,” says Webber. “It’s not a question of if, but when.”
The Piastri family say they are “petrol heads” with his father Chris telling the Sydney Morning Herald that “Oscar’s bedtime stories were mostly car books”.
I started racing remote control cars when I was six and by nine I had moved on to racing karts.
“I think he has the determination, the ability and the intelligence,” his mother Nicole told The Age newspaper this year of her son’s progress into Formula 1.
“I think he has what it takes to get there and do a good job, but that’s just a very small factor.
“There are a lot of other things that come into play to get a seat in Formula 1 – the politics, the money, the availability of the seats.
Chris Piastri has identified Webber’s involvement from Formula 3 as key to helping their son achieve his goal, opening doors of funding and sponsorship to help meet the rising costs that come with his racing career from race.
“Mark knows everyone,” I said. “That’s when he started taking the reins, managing the teams, managing Oscar until the visibility of the teams.”
Webber said it was a “no-brainer” to help. “It’s hard to turn heads, especially in the F1 paddock, because they’re quite hard to please,” he said.
“But there aren’t a lot of people who haven’t told me about him – how impressed they are with him, what he does, the trajectory he’s on.”
– with AFP
Originally published as F1 world reacts to McLaren’s sacking of Daniel Ricciardo: ‘Dirty fact’