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F1 2022, Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, Alpine, Pierre Gasly, Mick Schumacher, Otmar Szafnauer

Daniel Ricciardo’s path to a Formula 1 seat faces a new threat, with Alpine reportedly considering luring Pierre Gasly from Alfatauri to fill the 2023 vacancy.

Alpine is the best seat left on the grid after Fernando Alonso and Oscar Piastre beat the French team at the 48 Hours of Drivers’ Market earlier in the month.

Piastri has negotiated himself back into McLaren’s orbit, prompting Woking to begin severance negotiations with Ricciardo, who announced last week that he would be leaving the team at the end of the season with one year to run on his contract.

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The Australian said he was determined to continue in Formula 1, but with names being hammered out and the leading teams being counted out, joining Alpine was considered the most likely option for the Australian to secure a place near the back of the field.

Alpine boss Ottmar Schaffnauer said earlier this month that Ricciardo’s departure from the French team in 2020 would not be an obstacle to renewing the relationship, although he insisted he would not consider other drivers before the FIA’s contract recognition board decides this weekend. On whether he had first dibs on Piastri.

However, Saturday in Belgium Autosport reported The Alpine is now eyeing Pierre Gaslin to replace Alonso, forming an all-French dream team alongside incumbent Esteban Ocon.

Such a move would make Ricciardo locked in at least the top five teams on the grid.

However, there may be significant obstacles to such an agreement.

Alfatauri and Pierre Gasly re-committed this year until the end of 2023.

Red Bull’s hierarchy need Gaslin at least for a year at worst, as Yuki Tsunoda’s ultimate potential is yet to be fully convinced, especially given his recent spate of crashes and his F2 talent not breaking the door. To promote.

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Rumor has it that the Fenza team could replace Mick Schumacher in Gasly’s place, but it is debatable whether the German could be considered as a replacement for the Red Bull Junior team at best, as Haas could drop the German.

Autosport Colton Hertha is reportedly interested in the Red Bull junior outfit, but the American is under contract to both Andretti in IndyCar and McLaren for testing and evaluation in Formula 1, meaning two contracts will have to be paid before he can be available. .

Hertha is without a super license and will not be able to get through IndyCar this season as he is very far in the title standings with only two rounds remaining. The FIA ​​could make an exception to its own rules to grant a permit, but such a move seems unlikely since the points program was developed relatively recently and IndyCar was not as prominent.

A move cannot be ruled out given the weak nature of this year’s driver market, but alternatively Alpine could be voicing drivers in negotiations with Ricciardo to strengthen its bargaining power as both team and driver have a relatively weak hand.

Ricciardo previously commanded a hefty salary at Renault, worth US$55 million (A$80 million) over two years. Although McLaren’s pay is lower, his star power when switching teams means he remains one of the sport’s most recognizable faces and one of the best-paid drivers off the grid.

“I think we have to wait for Monday or Tuesday (after the contract recognition board meets) and then we look at our situation, get good information and make decisions,” Szafnauer said this weekend when asked about the possibility of drivers for 2023. “It’s sitting here. Right now, it’s just a guess. And I’d rather wait a day or two. Not long.”

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