Press reports suggest the Australian will end his association with McLaren at the end of the season. It is believed that he is already seeking £12 million to agree to his contract to be terminated a year ahead of time.
Fernando Alonso’s move to Aston Martin at the start of the 2023 season – replacing the retiring Sebastian Vettel – initially led to the Alpine F1 team announcing the veteran Spanish driver would be replaced by Oscar Piastri.
However, that rookie took to Twitter to say: “I understand that, without my agreement, Alpine F1 has put out a press release that I am driving for them next year. This is wrong and I have not signed a contract with Alpine for 2023. I will not be driving for Alpine next year.”
Piastri is now considered long odds-on to join Lando Norris at McLaren in 2023. It leaves an empty seat at Alpine F1. Will Ricciardo get it? Possibly not. He drove for the team in 2019 and 2020 – when they were called Renault – and he did not leave on the very best of terms.
Will Ricciardo Jump or Be Pushed Ahead of Time?
In fact, we believe there is a very real chance he could be gone from the sport before the end of the current campaign. It is never easy working somewhere where you are not wanted. Additionally, the eight-time race winner may be feeling embarrassed by the ever-increasing margins he is getting beaten by Norris every race weekend.
If he goes prematurely, the 5/6 offered by bet365 in a season-long match-bet against Kevin Magnussen would surely be a winner. If he does see out the 2022 season, the Australian may still struggle to amass more points than his Haas counterpart. The current standings see Ricciardo trailing the Dane by 22 points to 19. That’s despite Magnussen suffering three race retirements to his rival’s one.
Ricciardo may not be crestfallen just yet, but his head is bowed and with everything considered, a bet on him being outpointed by Magnussen at the season’s end would not be the worst investment as Formula One’s season restarts in Belgium this weekend.
* F1 odds are subject to changes.