Ricciardo will support Piastri in Formula 1
By Mat Coch
Friday 26th August, 2022 - 6:00am
Daniel Ricciardo will support Oscar Piastri despite seemingly losing his Formula 1 drive to the youngster at McLaren for 2023.
It follows a turbulent and public split between Piastri and Alpine, where he was named as Fernando Alonso’s successor alongside Esteban Ocon for next season.
Circumstances leading to the current situation can be largely traced back to comments made by McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown in the lead-up to the Monaco Grand Prix.
Brown drew Ricciardo’s ongoing performance battles into sharp focus at that point.
Speculation on the 33-year-old’s future has never gone away since.
Mark Webber, Piastri’s manager, saw the writing on the wall at McLaren and opened discussions with Brown.
Alpine was planning to farm the 21-year-old out to the unfancied Williams while fielding Alonso for another season.
That was before the two-time world champion decided to leave for Aston Martin.
It is widely accepted Piastri has agreed terms with McLaren leaving Alpine without a driver to fill the seat it thought it had a queue for.
The sordid ordeal has been carried out very much in public with the fallout generating a wave of support for Ricciardo, who is seen as the innocent victim.
Conversely, Piastri, Webber, and Brown have garnered a negative response online.
Ricciardo has not taken the situation personally and has adopted a pragmatic approach despite his disappointment.
“I’m not going to tell them not to support me,” he said when asked by Speedcafe.com how fans should read and react to the current situation, noting the vitriol lobbied at the other parties involved.
“Obviously people will feel emotional towards the decision, but it’s business in terms of Mark’s looking out for Oscar, he’s got a job to do for him.
“That’s where this is sport but business at the same time, so you have to kind of put yourself first, if you will.
“It’s certainly not the outcome I wanted. As I said, when I joined the team, I had a much different idea of how it would go, but it’s the reality of the situation.
“Obviously that’s where Zak and the team felt like it was going, so that’s that.
“Happy to have the [fan] support, but I don’t want to condone any negative feelings towards others.”
McLaren confirmed yesterday that Ricciardo will leave the organisation at the end of the season.
The team drove those discussions while remaining silent on what its next move is.
Despite that, Ricciardo admitted he will support Piastri as a fellow Australian in Formula 1 ahead of his expected announcement at McLaren.
“I honestly still don’t know what the future holds for Oscar,” Ricciardo said.
“Obviously Mark’s doing his job for Oscar, I don’t take any of that personal.
“Assuming Oscar’s, I think is kind of guaranteed a spot on the grid next year somewhere.
“I will support him, and I will support a fellow Aussie.”
Ricciardo added there has been no contact with Piastri or Webber since the situation unfolded.
“I don’t think there’s been a reason for him to reach out,” he said.
“I’m sure they’re going through their stuff as well. I’ve been trying to sort my stuff out.”
For now, it remains unclear when Piastri’s future will be formally announced.