McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo has no ill will towards Oscar Piastri or his manager Mark Webber amid the 21-year-old’s imminent move to the British team.
Ricciardo left Renault to join McLaren at the end of the 2020 season, but his partnership with Lando Norris has been a tough one blighted by an incompatibility with the car.
The 33-year-old has often struggled to match his team-mate as a result, so while his win in Monza last year was a memorable one, there have been few other highlights to enjoy.
Initially, both Ricciardo and McLaren affirmed that they wanted to see out the driver’s contract, which expires at the end of next year.
However, the situation changed when Piastri became tired of being kept waiting for a loan move by his Alpine team.
The French side wanted to wait until they secured Fernando Alonso’s future before loaning out the Formula 2 champion, but the double world champion wanted a longer deal than just one season.
He could not agree terms with team principal Otmar Szafnauer, so he has instead signed with Aston Martin to replace the retiring Sebastian Vettel.
In the meantime, Piastri had reportedly been negotiating with McLaren to replace the struggling Ricciardo, who will now be leaving Woking by mutual consent at the end of the year.
The younger Aussie therefore turned down his promotion with Alpine, and is set to replace his compatriot next year.
Though Piastri’s arrival is set to force the eight-time race winner out of the team, he understands that this is just how the game works.
“I honestly still don’t know what the future holds for Oscar, but yeah, I mean, from the terms of that, it’s just business,” said Ricciardo.
“And obviously Mark’s just doing his job for Oscar, so, I don’t take any of that personal.
“Assuming Oscar… I think he is kind of guaranteed a spot on the grid next year somewhere, so I will support him, and I will support a fellow Aussie and yeah, I don’t take it personal.”
The 33-year-old has not spoken directly to either Piastri or Webber, who Ricciardo replaced at Red Bull in 2014, but they were under no obligation to talk to him before signing with McLaren.
“Have I heard from him? No, I don’t think there’s been a reason for him to reach out,” confirmed Ricciardo.
“As I said, I’m sure they’re going through their stuff as well, so yeah, I’ve obviously been trying to sort my stuff out.”
As a result, the McLaren driver does not want to see any abuse sent to Piastri or Webber.
“Well, I’m not going to tell them not to support me!” joked Ricciardo.
“But yeah, look, as I touched on earlier with a previous question, people will feel, I guess, emotional towards the decision, but it’s business, in terms of… as I said, Mark’s looking out for Oscar, he’s got a job to do for him.
“So, you know, that’s where this is… it’s a sport, but business at the same time, so you have to kind of put yourself first, if you will, and that’s that.
“It’s certainly not the outcome I wanted, and when I joined the team, I had a much different idea of how it would go, but it’s the reality of the situation.
“And obviously, that’s where Zak and the team felt like it was going so that was that, but yeah, happy to have the support, but I don’t want to condone any negative feelings towards others.”
Ricciardo has been linked with a return to Alpine next season, as well as a move to Haas, where Mick Schumacher is out of contract at the end of the season.