Sports: Daniel Ricciardo out, Oscar Piastri in? What we know about contentious Formula 1 situation

Daniel Ricciardo demands mammoth payout to be replaced at McLaren by Oscar Piastri - reports

  Daniel Ricciardo demands mammoth payout to be replaced at McLaren by Oscar Piastri - reports Daniel Ricciardo demands mammoth payout to be replaced at McLaren by Oscar Piastri - reportsThe 33-year-old wants compensation of US$21 million if he is terminate his contract, which expires at the end of 2023, with the English team, reports Speedcafe.

One of the brightest young talents in motorsports found himself engaged in a massive contract dispute this week, and it could leave one of Formula One's most popular drivers without a job next season.

Oscar Piastri, who is currently the reserve/test driver at Alpine F1 team, was announced Tuesday as one of the team's two primary drivers for the 2023 season. However, about 30 minutes after Alpine's press release, Piasti wrote on Twitter that he did not have a contract with Alpine for the 2023 season and called the press release "wrong."

Rumors had been swirling that Piastri, 21, had already secured a 2023 deal with McLaren F1 team, which is currently fighting with Alpine for fourth position in the 2022 constructors' standings. Those rumors seem to have had credence, as RACER reported Friday that McLaren was in exit talks with eight-time race winner Daniel Ricciardo and felt it had a valid contract with Piastri.

Szafnauer: No issue in bringing Ricciardo back to Alpine F1 team

  Szafnauer: No issue in bringing Ricciardo back to Alpine F1 team Alpine Formula 1 team boss Otmar Szafnauer has not ruled out a return to the Enstone team for Daniel Ricciardo, should it not be able to keep Oscar Piastri.The team announced on Tuesday afternoon that Piastri will drive in 2023, but shortly afterwards the Australian took to social media to deny that was the case.

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Meanwhile, Alpine also believes it has a valid contract with Piastri for 2023, telling RACER they feel their statement announcing Piastri was "legally correct."

So, will Piastri make his F1 debut in 2023 and for which team? And what does it mean for Ricciardo, whose turbulent career has been highlighted in part by the popular Netflix documentary "Drive to Survive?"

Contract saga around Alpine jewel finished!

 Contract saga around Alpine jewel finished! After his curious cockpit termination to Alpine, Oscar Piatri has now actually found a place in Formula 1. The Australian hires at the immediate competition. © provided by Sport1.de Contract saga around Alpine-Juwel finished! The contract saga around Oscar Piatri (21) has ended before it really started. The Contract Recognition Board of the FIA, which takes care of corresponding disputes between two teams, has already decided.

Alpine F1 reserve driver Oscar Piastri walks in the Paddock ahead of the 2022 Grand Prix of Spain. © Clive Mason, Getty Images Alpine F1 reserve driver Oscar Piastri walks in the Paddock ahead of the 2022 Grand Prix of Spain.

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How did this all start?

Formula One is known for chaotic midseasons rife with drivers switching teams. The period, which typically commences during the sport's annual summer break, is called "silly season."

Still, situations like this are rare. The first domino to fall in this case was the retirement of four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel. This led current Alpine driver Fernando Alonso to swoop in and replace Vettel at Aston Martin for 2023 — a move that, according to RACER, Alpine didn't learn about until Aston Martin's press release.

Alonso's sudden departure left a hole at Alpine, which it sought to logically fill with Piastri, the team's reserve driver and someone who had come up through the Alpine junior program. But that plan seemingly fell through after Piastri refuted the team's announcement, which is still live on Alpine's Twitter account.

Norris had to adjust to 2022 McLaren F1 car that was "very unsuited for me"

  Norris had to adjust to 2022 McLaren F1 car that was Lando Norris believes he has done a “reasonable job” adjusting to the 2022 McLaren Formula 1 car that is “very unsuited” to his driving style.Team-mate Daniel Ricciardo has failed to match Norris for form, prompting McLaren to swoop for Oscar Piastri as a replacement for 2023.

Meanwhile, questions surrounding Ricciardo's seat began to reach a fever pitch as the Australian continued to struggle in his second year with McLaren. Since 2021, Ricciardo has been routinely outpaced by his teammate Lando Norris and hasn't been the same driver he was with Red Bull Racing from 2014-18.

Who is Oscar Piastri?

Piastri is a 21-year-old Australian driver, who has been part of the Alpine junior program since 2020. Junior programs help young drivers progress through minor racing series as they work their way up to F1.

Piastri won the Formula 3 championship in 2020 and the Formula 2 championship in 2021, becoming just the fifth driver to win both series in consecutive years. As per regulations levied by the FIA, the governing body of motorsports, drivers who win the F2 title are not allowed to rejoin the following year. With no available seats in F1 for 2022, this left Piastri in no-man's land — with Alpine eventually signing him to a reserve contract for 2022 for the purpose of keeping Piastri affiliated with the team and getting the Australian some experience with the F1 car.

Liam Lawson and Oscar Piatri in front of Formula 1 training debut in Belgium

 Liam Lawson and Oscar Piatri in front of Formula 1 training debut in Belgium Liam Lawson and Oscar Piatri will make their official debut in a Formula 1 car after the summer break by using the first free training. © provided by Motorsport.com Liam Lawson and Oscar Piatri in front of Formula 1 training debut in Belgium Lawson will drive at the Belgium Grand Prix for Alphatauri on Friday, while Piatri will either appear in Spa or the following weekend in Monza will have at Alpine.

Will Daniel Ricciardo drive in F1 next year?

It's difficult to imagine Ricciardo not driving in F1 next year, but it is plausible. If Piastri occupies McLaren's second seat in 2023, Ricciardo will be left with few options — and none of them are great.

The possibility exists that Ricciardo could take the vacant Alpine seat. He raced for the team under its previous branding as Renault from 2019-20 before joining McLaren. Ricciardo finished fifth in the drivers' championship standings for Renault in 2020.

For a team that could see both its top choices for 2023 — Alonso and Piastri — simultaneously leave them at the altar, Alpine would be hard-pressed to find a better quick-fix replacement than Ricciardo.

McLaren has not yet made an announcement regarding Piastri or Ricciardo for 2023, but the team has also been connected to other drivers including IndyCar youngster Colton Herta.

This sounds familiar. Isn't there something like this in IndyCar as well?

Yes, and it should sound especially familiar because McLaren is also at the center of the IndyCar situation. Chip Ganassi Racing announced it was bringing back driver Alex Palou, the 2021 IndyCar Series champion, for the 2023 season only for Palou to deny it and McLaren to say it had signed Palou to drive for its IndyCar team next season.

An Alonso knows no mercy

 An Alonso knows no mercy Fernando Alonso has plunged Alpine into chaos. The racing team is suddenly with an empty cockpit. So he showed the team the long nose. © provided by Sport1.de An alonso knows no mercy He is known as the most political driver of Formula 1: Fernando Alonso (41). Now the Spaniard has struck again. with his switch from Alpine to Aston Martin he triggered a chaos on the driver's market.

Chip Ganassi Racing sued Palou, who is still driving for the team in 2022, over the contract dispute. The sides are now headed to federal court.

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Who decides contract disputes in F1?

Contract disputes in F1 are decided by the FIA Contract Recognition Board (CRB), a group of independent lawyers who settle disputes out of court. Alpine has appealed to the board to determine the validity of its contract with Piastri. It is likely the Piastri situation, because of the CRB, will be settled before Palou's IndyCar fate is known.

This situation is similar to a decision made by the CRB in 2004 when F1 driver Jenson Button attempted to leave BAR-Honda for Williams. The CRB ruled in favor of Honda, which retained Button's services for the 2005 season.

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So Piastri could be forced to drive for Alpine in 2023?

If the CRB ruled in favor of Alpine, yes. He would be contractually obligated to drive for them. However, if the group determined McLaren's contract was valid and supersedes that of Alpine, then Piastri would be free to join McLaren and Alpine would be left with an open seat to fill ahead of 2023.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Daniel Ricciardo out, Oscar Piastri in? What we know about contentious Formula 1 situation

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