Ricciardo a frontrunner for a possible return to Alpine in 2023 – Reports

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According to AutoHebdo, Daniel Ricciardo is on the ‘top of the list’ to replace Fernando Alonso at Alpine for the 2023 season.

Fernando Alonso dropped a bomb on the F1 world as he announced he was moving to Aston Martin on a ‘multi-year’ deal in 2023, replacing his friend Sebastian Vettel who was retiring from the sport.

Alpine were caught off guard by the news with team boss, Otmar Szafnauer surprised by the Spaniard’s decision. But they congratulated Alonso and said his replacement will be revealed soon.

The man who is assumed to replace Alonso is the F2 champion and Alpine junior, Oscar Piastri. He is currently the team’s reserve driver.

Ricciardo back to Alpine?

But reports are indicating that Daniel Ricciardo may be the first choice to replace the two-time world champion.

Ricciardo drove for Alpine (then Renault) in 2019 and 2020 before moving to McLaren. During that short stint, Ricciardo managed to score some podiums and was a consistent point-scoring driver.

As per reports, Alpine and Piastri had a pre-contract that ended on 31st July. The end of this contract means Piastri can officially be in contact with other teams for a seat next season.

Earlier in the year, the Australian was linked to Williams to replace the struggling Nicolas Latifi. However, as Daniel Ricciardo’s form dropped during the season, Oscar’s manager, Mark Webber started pushing for a seat at McLaren for the 21-year-old.

With his seat at McLaren now under threat, Ricciardo is looking for a swap to the Enstone-based team for the next season.

Ricciardo had previously made his intentions clear that he intends to stick with the team through his two-year contract.

He was asked whether he was thinking of moving over to Aston Martin after Vettel’s retirement news. The Australian clearly denied and clarified he intends to stay with McLaren. Speaking to David Croft, he said:

“Obviously it’s nothing against them but, as I said last week, my future is clear and it’s here,”

But time is running out for the Australian. Questions are being raised about his seat and the support from McLaren is fading away. McLaren CEO, Zak Brown has publicly said that Ricciardo’s performance is not up to the mark and the team wants more from him.

If Ricciardo can’t turn the tide, he may well be looking for a return to his former team for redemption.

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