What are Daniel Ricciardo’s choices to remain in Method 1?

Talks came about behind the scenes between McLaren and Ricciardo over the summer time to agree the phrases of his departure on the finish of the season, with one 12 months remaining on his contract.

It’s a low-key ending to one of the vital high-profile F1 strikes in latest reminiscence, bringing to an finish a largely tough spell for Ricciardo at McLaren, which can now look to swap one Australian for one more by securing Oscar Piastri away from Alpine.

It additionally leaves Ricciardo weighing up his choices for the longer term. He’s a free agent in a driver market that has only a few viable seats left for 2023. But even after the struggles of the final two years, he certainly stays one of the vital enticing choices for groups in want of a driver.

So what are Ricciardo’s choices to remain on the F1 grid for subsequent 12 months?

Fernando Alonso, Alpine A522

Fernando Alonso, Alpine A522

Picture by: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Pictures


Contemplating the cloud underneath which Ricciardo left Renault on the finish of 2020 to affix McLaren, a return simply two years later would have appeared unthinkable.

But the style by which the latest saga has performed out, whereby Alpine might have let each Piastri and Fernando Alonso slip via its fingers in a matter of weeks, means a reunion may the truth is be a wedding of comfort for each events; an opportunity to show everybody who wrote them off flawed.

You will need to observe that lots has modified at Enstone since Ricciardo’s final stint, reaching past the title of the workforce and the color of the automotive. The administration of Renault’s works F1 operation has additionally been overhauled: gone are the likes of Cyril Abiteboul, Alain Prost and Marcin Budkowski, with the management now comprising Otmar Szafnauer as workforce principal and Laurent Rossi as Alpine CEO.

It could make a possible Ricciardo return extra palatable for individuals who felt so scorned by his shock exit in 2020. He would additionally convey a little bit of sparkle and star energy again to the workforce’s line-up, one thing that has been misplaced with Alonso’s departure, and provide an enormous quantity of promoting enchantment – certainly of big worth as Renault appears to develop the Alpine model.

Alpine would undoubtedly be Ricciardo’s best possibility for the close to future. The workforce at present sits fourth within the constructors’ standings, and has been extra constant than McLaren of late. Remarkably, it may really be a step up the aggressive order for Ricciardo, in addition to providing a transfer to a works outfit.

However it should be famous that Piastri stays Alpine’s meant driver for 2023. Szafnauer has said Alpine could be completely satisfied to take issues to courtroom, indicating simply how eager the workforce is to area the reigning F2 champion subsequent 12 months, having invested so closely in his growth via his junior profession.

It could be a case that takes a while to resolve, that means Ricciardo may very well be left ready on how issues unfold for Piastri ought to Alpine be his best choice, their futures as soon as once more intertwined.

Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo C42

Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo C42

Picture by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Pictures

With all the high seats taken, the next-best possibility for Ricciardo would seem like Alfa Romeo. The workforce signed Valtteri Bottas on a multi-year deal that began this season, leaving the one vacant seat for subsequent 12 months being the one at present occupied by Zhou Guanyu.

Zhou has impressed your complete F1 paddock along with his performances via his rookie season, scoring some extent on debut in Bahrain and frequently discovering himself across the fringes of the factors. Alfa Romeo has an possibility on his companies for subsequent 12 months, and there may be little to recommend his efforts wouldn’t see this triggered.

However when a driver like Ricciardo comes in the marketplace, it’s tough to not take discover.

Motorsport.com understands {that a} deal is in place for Audi’s F1 entry to happen by way of Sauber – which operates the Alfa Romeo workforce – from 2026, appearing as an enormous enhance to the Swiss workforce’s future.

So may Alfa Romeo really be Ricciardo’s finest wager for the long-term? Ricciardo could be 36 by the point an Audi F1 workforce would possibly line up on the grid for the primary time, that means it might be a stretch for him to commit now on the premise that he’d be round for the German producer’s arrival.

But even within the short-term, Sauber may provide the form of change Ricciardo wants. We’ve seen clearly how the transfer has rejuvenated Bottas, permitting him – in his personal phrases – to take pleasure in F1 greater than ever and really feel he has a higher contribution. It could even be an enormous assertion for Alfa Romeo to have two race winners in its line-up.

It actually relies upon how far forward Ricciardo desires to look – and whether or not he’d be keen to just accept persevering with battling within the midfield whereas the constructing blocks are put in place at Hinwil for a extra aggressive future.

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL36, battles with Mick Schumacher, Haas VF-22

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL36, battles with Mick Schumacher, Haas VF-22

Picture by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Pictures


Leaving Pink Bull for Renault appeared like a step down for Ricciardo in 2019 – so would he dare pull an analogous trick and be part of one of many smallest groups on the grid for subsequent 12 months?

Flashes of tempo this 12 months act as proof of the progress Haas made underneath the brand new rules, respiration contemporary life into Kevin Magnussen’s profession and even bringing out some first rate shows from Mick Schumacher. However the hole between the 2 has left Schumacher’s future wanting unsure, significantly as Ferrari has no say over the seat at present occupied by its main junior.

Haas would lack the monetary would possibly different groups may provide Ricciardo – however it’s understood the pay-off from McLaren will stay unchanged regardless of the phrases of any potential deal for 2023. It means the financials may very well be much less of a deal-breaker for Ricciardo, and maybe urge him to take a punt on a smaller workforce like Haas.

There’s an idea in sport often known as a ‘pillow contract’. It’s the place gamers signal a one-year cope with a smaller operation, usually on profitable phrases, that means there isn’t any long-term dedication on both aspect. Such a deal for Ricciardo and Haas would provide the possibility to suss one another out and see how issues match with none large ties for the longer term. If it really works, then nice; if not, each side can have a look at alternate options for 2024.

Ricciardo will seemingly crave stability given how turbulent his latest strikes have been, but when no higher choices can be found, Haas is probably not the worst place to finish up.

Alex Albon, Williams FW44, Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL36

Alex Albon, Williams FW44, Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL36

Picture by: Alessio Morgese

It’s an analogous precept that may apply to Williams. The workforce has pulled itself out of the doldrums and change into extra aggressive of late, aided by the monetary stability afforded by its new proprietor, Dorilton Capital. But it’s nonetheless removed from being the common power it as soon as was.

Dorilton is eager to play on its US picture, making American F2 driver Logan Sargeant a pure alternative for subsequent 12 months if he can keep his latest type. But Ricciardo is arguably essentially the most marketable driver in the US, given his presence in Drive to Survive and love for American tradition. It could be a marquee signing for the brand new house owners to make, arguably the most important for Williams because it snapped up Felipe Massa for 2014 following his Ferrari exit (which is saying one thing) and function a press release for its future.

Williams would most likely act a final resort for Ricciardo – but when the workforce is keen to cough up the money and promise to construct itself round him for the longer term, then it may change into an possibility he appears to discover.

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