Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren teammate is steering well clear of the ongoing chaos.
Lando Norris took to social media in the wake of the Formula 1’s silly season going into overdrive to let the world know, he isn’t available.
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On Friday it was reported Ricciardo’s seat at McLaren for the 2023 season would be taken by rising Australian prodigy Oscar Piastri.
The bombshell news means Ricciardo’s contract could be terminated one year early, which would potentially result in a monster payout for the West Australian.
F1 is on its mid-year break and the silly season went into overdrive this week when Piastri emphatically denied he would be filling the spare Alpine seat vacated by Fernando Alonso, who is joining Aston Martin.
But as the chaos unfolds at McLaren, Norris made it abundantly clear he wouldn’t be addressing any of the drama during the break.
Norris uploaded two images of him in a private jet, with this sneaky caption: “Thanks for your email. I will be away from the office until [next week] for [holiday] with no access to email. If your request is urgent, please contact [@mclaren]. Otherwise, I’ll get back to you as quickly as possible when I return on [@fai_aviation_group].”
The Formula 1 world wasn’t happy with Ricciardo’s reported sacking from McLaren, with many hoping the Aussie remains in the sport.
Ricciardo’s career has been on some what of a downward spiral since his days of outdriving Sebastian Vettel and regularly challenging Max Verstappen at Red Bull. But no one wants to see it end this way.
ESPN’s Nate Saunders reported four teams have sounded Ricciardo out recently to “see where his head is at” and slammed McLaren for its treatment of the Aussie.
“It reflects very poorly on Brown and McLaren how they have treated Ricciardo over the past six months,” Saunders wrote. “Ricciardo, the only McLaren driver to have won an F1 race since 2012, has been the first to admit his performances have not been up to the standards he set at Red Bull and Renault but it feels as though he has been made as a scapegoat to deflect away from deeper problems at the team.”
Despite the rapid turn of events this week Ricciardo’s future could take a long time to settle because McLaren will likely face a challenge from Alpine over its poaching of Piastri.
The West Australian could spend a year with McLaren’s IndyCar team to see out his deal, or could receive a pay out and join another team. That team could even be Alpine if Piastri is able to leave.
Who is Oscar Piastri?
Born in Melbourne, Piastri joined Alpine’s academy after clinching the Formula Renault Eurocup title in 2019, securing seven wins.
He carried the form into the Formula 3 series in 2020, winning the opening race on his debut and holding his nerve to claim the title by three points in one of the most closely fought championships ever.
The following year he was on the Formula 2 grid, where he clocked six wins to unequivocally announce his arrival on the world stage, becoming just the third rookie champion after Charles Leclerc (2017) and George Russell (2018). They are both now in F1.
Despite his rapid rise Piastri was overlooked for a drive in Formula One this season because of a lack of available seats, instead lurking on the sidelines at Alpine ready to replace either Esteban Ocon or Alonso if they were forced to miss a race.
He’s managed by fellow Aussie and nine-time F1 race winner Mark Webber. “Does he deserve to be in F1? Absolutely, we all know that,” Webber says. “It’s not a question of if, but when.”
The Piastri family say they are “petrol heads” with his father Chris telling The Sydney Morning Herald that “Oscar’s bedtime stories were mainly car books”.
He started racing remote-controlled cars aged six and by nine had graduated to piloting go-karts.