Daniel Ricciardo: Alpine not ruling out return for Formula 1 2023 as Oscar Piastri mess opens door
Daniel Ricciardo has reportedly been told by McLaren that they are planning to sign Oscar Piastri for 2023 - so could the 32-year-old return to the Renault family with Alpine? Team boss Otmar Szafnauer has his say on Ricciardo
Last Updated: 09/08/22 4:55pm
Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer says the team would have no issue in bringing Daniel Ricciardo back should Oscar Piastri not drive for them in Formula 1 2023.
Alpine have been at the centre of driver market drama this summer after Fernando Alonso shocked the team by signing for Aston Martin, while their planned replacement Oscar Piastri sensationally refuted their announcement and insisted he will be driving elsewhere next season.
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The Piastri fiasco has brought Ricciardo unexpectedly back into the mix, as Piastri's insistence that he will not be driving for Alpine is believed to be down to him nearing an agreement with McLaren, Ricciardo's current team.
Ricciardo has a contract for 2023 but reports late last week stated that McLaren had told him they are planning to replace him. Should Piastri be taking Ricciardo's seat, a solution for all parties may be Ricciardo to Alpine.
Ricciardo drove for the team, who were previously known as Renault, for two seasons from 2019, where he rediscovered his form of old from Red Bull and earned his move to McLaren, where he has since struggled.
Alpine are adamant - even in light of Piastri's claims - that their current reserve driver has an obligation to drive for them next season but if that does not happen, the French outfit are not ruling out Ricciardo.
"I mean, if you look at Fernando, for example, he comes and goes, and I think that happens to other drivers too," team boss Szafnauer, speaking before Piastri's statement, was quoted as telling Autosport.
"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."
Szafnauer was also quoted in the Spanish media as saying Ricciardo was a "good recommendation".
Ricciardo raced in 38 races for Renault after joining from Red Bull, and dominated team-mates Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Ocon, scoring two podiums in the process.
He has struggled next to Lando Norris at McLaren, but has stressed that he wants to stay with the Woking team.