Daniel Ricciardo says he didn’t know McLaren had signed Oscar Piastri on a two-year deal on July 4.
Piastiri’s contract with McLaren was approved by the FIA’s contract recognition board on Friday after Alpine said it still held the rights to the young Australian, who is still a member of its youth driver academy.
Board statement McLaren It marks the completion of a deal signed on July 4 covering the 2023 and 2024 seasons, after the British Grand Prix.
Watch every practice, qualifying and race of the 2022 FIA Formula One World Championship™ live on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >
Confirmed: Aussie Oscar Piastri to replace Daniel Ricciardo at McLaren from 2023
Ricciardo was told after the Hungarian Grand Prix on July 31 that the team was considering replacing him and his contract was not terminated until last week.
Speaking in the Netherlands on Friday evening after the CRB announcement, Ricciardo said he was unaware Piastri had signed a contract with McLaren for a month before the mid-season break.
“That’s the first time I’ve heard of it back in the day to be honest,” he told Sky Sports. “Obviously I don’t know the timelines and this and that, what the team is discussing.
“In terms of the timeline — and I guess what the team is doing to prepare for the Oscars — it’s none of my business what day they say, this or that.
“If that’s the way it is, so be it. It’s not my decision,” he said.
But he admitted he had been talking about his performance for months.
“To be honest, we were talking months before that day, not about my future, but really about where we can improve to have a better future with the team.
“I know there are ongoing talks.”
Speaking to reporters at the Dutch Grand Prix, McLaren principal Andreas Siedl denied there was any dodgy work in the contract deal.
“Of course, we won’t disclose the details of the contract we signed with Oscar,” he said. “As we talked about last week with Daniel, I think throughout this year, Zach[Brown, CEO]and I have had an open and honest conversation with Daniel whenever we’re both available.
“So there is no problem with this.”
Seidl and Brown were vocal in their support for Ricciardo in the week before and after Piastre’s July 4 signing.
Asked on Fox Sports during the week of the British Grand Prix whether Ricciardo would consider his contract with McLaren, Brown replied: “Yes.
“We love working with him. He loves the team. When we give him a car that has the potential to win, we see that he can win in it.”
But Ricciardo had one of his worst performances of the season at Silverstone, finishing 14th and finishing second-last, only ahead of Yuki Shunoda’s injured AlphaTauri. Lando Norris qualified sixth.
The headlines at the time were speculation about an Australian stint with McLaren that hit fever pitch, prompting Ricciardo to issue a social media post announcing he would end his contract.
“I am committed to McLaren until the end of next year and I am not walking away from the sport,” he said. “It wasn’t always easy to appreciate, but who wants easy! I’ve been working my ass off with the team to make improvements and get the car back up and running.
“I still need this more than ever.”
Siddle echoed Ricciardo’s commitment, saying the following week: “From our point of view there was no need for any speculation.
“We’ve made it clear that we have a contract on our side, and our focus is on getting these final percentages of performance together with Daniel.
“That’s what we’re focusing on. The statement wasn’t a surprise, it was just confirmation that we’re both together, which is consistent with what we’ve been saying for months.
It has been suggested that McLaren had initially signed a one-plus-one deal with Piastre as a reserve driver and had the option to switch to race negotiations after Ricciardo’s condition was revealed.