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Alpine would be willing to take Ricciardo back

NEWS STORY
04/08/2022

Alpine boss, Otmar Szafnauer has said the French team would be willing to take Daniel Ricciardo should the Australian lose his seat to countryman Oscar Piastri.

All idea of a quiet, restful summer break went out the window on Tuesday amidst a flurry of press releases and social media posts surrounding the future of the reigning F1 champion.

With the dust having settled - for now - it remains to be seen where we go from here, with many suggesting yesterday's activity is set to kick-start the mother of all games of F1 musical chairs.

With Piastri thought to be heading to McLaren, the obvious question is whither Ricciardo?

The most obvious answer is Alpine, however it was whilst he was with the French outfit - then Renault - on a reputed 20m a year, that he sought to jump ship to McLaren.

Alpine boss, Otmar Szafnauer insists there are no hard feelings and the Enstone-based outfit would be willing to take the Australian back if necessary - though presumably on a much reduced salary.

Indeed, Szafnauer compares Ricciardo to Fernando Alonso in that he is one of the sport's nomads.

"If you look at Fernando, for example, he comes and goes, and I think that happens to other drivers too," said the American, according to Motorsport.com.

"I don't think that's an issue at all," he added. "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, so that we can move forward towards what we've been planning."

Szafnauer compares the situation to Jenson Button in 2004, when Williams and BAR-Honda were involved in a legal tussle over the driver's services.

"I've been around long enough where I've seen this kind of thing actually play out and happen," said Szafnauer, who was with Honda at the time. "When Jenson signed with Williams and ended up at British American Racing Honda, if you remember those days, there was absolutely no issue. I mean, I know Oscar is different from Jenson. Hopefully we don't have to go down that route, anyway.

"But your presumption was, oh, a driver wants to go somewhere else. So hopefully that's not the case. But I have seen it where a driver actually signed with another team incorrectly, so had to drive for the team that he initially signed with. And it was absolutely no issue. Jenson at the time did a stellar job at BAR, and never ended up at Williams."

However, Szafnauer's comments about Button and Williams came before Piastri's declaration via social media that he will not be driving for Alpine in 2023.

Currently, the French team is standing its ground, a spokesperson telling The Race: "We believe we are legally correct in our statement, but don’t have anything further to say."

If the various parties cannot resolve the matter between themselves, the next step would be the Contract Recognition Board which was last used in the Button tug-of-war.

In the meantime, Williams added to the fun this morning when it revealed that it would be making an announcement at 15:00 BST.

If nothing else, Zak Brown was trending on Twitter last night, and none of it was positive.

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1. Posted by kenji, 04/08/2022 1:30

"Given all that's been written/said about this current 'contretemps'vis a vis Ricciardo/McLaren/Alpine/Piastri it appears 'prima facie' that Daniel, thankfully, holds all the cards. He has stated that he is driving next year as per his contract, and that was confirmed by both Seidl and Brown. Now it appears that Brown seeks to undermine that with an attempt to oust him taking place behind the scenes. It's a moot point surrounding Ricciardo's performances as to the mix between the car and Riocciardo's driving style and when the stars align Ricciardo can get a result. As Seidl said at the beginning of the season, 'it's up to us to give Daniel a car that can win'. So far that hasn't been the case yet all and sundry have gleefully taken the opportunity to diss on Daniel. I certainly hope that if changes do occur that Ricciardo makes those responsible for his dilemma pay him mega bucks for their apparent deception. ATM, IMO, he should soak McLaren and move back to Renault/Alpine. The car is fast and the team is a nose ahead of McLaren in WCC. A drop in salary but a great bonus scheme could be the equaliser. My respect for McLaren is waning by the day....As Ricciardo said, 'Give me a car capable of winning and I'll give you wins'. Revenge can be a super motivator."

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2. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 03/08/2022 20:30

"This whole saga could cost McLaren a lot of money should Ricciardo need to be bought out of his contract and Alpine compensated for Piastri.

Also, Ricciardo brings a lot of F1 "fans" to McLaren so sponsors could be getting a bit jumpy if McLaren is seen as the villan in all this though a quick check of the #PiastriGate tag shows Alpine currently getting a bit of a hammering.

As usual the case could be "follow the money" to see how this all settles down."

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3. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 03/08/2022 19:14

"Anyone at Pitpass spoken to Mark Webber yet?"

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4. Posted by The Canadian, 03/08/2022 15:54

"Things at Ferrari looking better and better as this drags on"

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