26-year-old driver set to join Alpine, Williams could be Daniel Ricciardo’s only option

Daniel Ricciardo is believed to have held a conversation with the Haas F1 Team, and he has also been linked with Williams.

Daniel Ricciardo’s options in Formula 1 are quickly running out, with more drivers now being rumoured to be competing with him for the vacant Alpine seat.

The Australian announced prior to the Belgian Grand Prix that as expected, he will be leaving the McLaren F1 Team at the end of the year, opening the door for Alpine reserve driver and 2021 F2 World Champion Oscar Piastri to take his seat as planned.

Piastri had been announced as Fernando Alonso’s replacement at the French side but sensationally revealed on social media that he hadn’t agreed to replace Alonso, and crucially won’t be doing so either.

Piastri supposedly has a deal in place with McLaren; however, he still finds himself contracted to the Enstone-based outfit.

READ: Charles Leclerc frustrated by more Ferrari confusion at Spa

Piastri’s “immaturity” has left team principal Otmar Szafnauer furious, with a contract recognition board meeting due to take place after Sunday’s race to determine whether Piastri has to race for Alpine next season, under contract.

Should Piastri race for McLaren next season, then Alpine have already announced that they will demand compensation from the young Australian, for all the millions of dollars put into his development.

With it looking all but certain that Alpine won’t have Piastri next season, Ricciardo is seemingly the favourite to go back to the team he left at the end of 2020, whilst they were still known as Renault.

Ricciardo wants to continue in F1 but competitively, with Alpine being the only seat available where podium finishes are somewhat fathomable.

Article continues below

Some were concerned that Alpine wouldn’t take Ricciardo back due to the way he left in 2020, again, though, Szafnauer has expressed that bringing the 33-year-old back wouldn’t be an issue.

He is extremely expensive, though, arguably the most expensive driver looking for a seat for 2023.

This could put him out of the Haas F1 Team’s reach, despite Ricciardo and Haas team principal Guenther Steiner having reportedly had a phone call prior to the Hungarian Grand Prix.

The call comes amid growing speculation that Mick Schumacher will be dropped at the end of the year, leaving a seat open at Haas.

Schumacher is another name to be rumoured with a move to Alpine; something which has been believed since it was discovered that the young German and Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi follow each other on Instagram.

The Haas driver has also been linked to Scuderia AlphaTauri, with Pierre Gasly’s name having been included in the Alpine conversation.

Gasly recently signed a deal with the Faenza-based team for 2023, meaning Alpine would likely have to buy the Frenchman out of his contract.

If Gasly were to move to Alpine then it would create the French dream for Alpine, with Gasly lining-up alongside fellow Frenchman Esteban Ocon at the French team.

If this happened, then Ricciardo would be without a top five seat, leaving him with the choice to become a lower-midfield driver, or take a sabbatical.

Schumacher could be in the same scenario if Haas don’t retain him and if neither Alpine nor AlphaTauri sign him, with the latter-side rumoured to be interested in IndyCar driver Colton Herta, according to Autosport.

Herta is undoubtedly talented; however, he comes with his own problems.

Herta is contracted to Andretti in the American series as well as the McLaren F1 Team as a test driver, meaning two contracts would need to be paid out by AlphaTauri.

The Andretti driver is also without a superlicence and would be unlikely to get one either following the fact that IndyCar isn’t part of the FIA’s points system.

The Alpine seat appears to be where more than one seat will be determined, as Gasly would remain at the Red Bull junior side should Ricciardo replace Alonso.

READ: Daniel Ricciardo thanks Sebastian Vettel as he opens up on McLaren ‘dead-end’

Szafnauer isn’t rushing into any decisions, with the Romanian-American first wanting to know what is going to happen in the McLaren/Piastri saga.

“I think we should wait for Monday or Tuesday (after the contract recognition board meets) and then thereafter look at our situation, having good information and make those decisions,” Szafnauer said.

“Sitting here right now, it‘s just hypothetical. And I’d rather wait a day or two. It’s not long.”