Daniel Ricciardo confirms his interest in Alpine, Fernando Alonso speaks

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Formula 1’s return to Belgium is marked by many behind-the-scenes events in the discipline. First of all, there is the announcement of Audi’s arrival in Formula 1 from 2026, followed by that of Alfa Romeo’s withdrawal from 2023. At the same time, Alpine is making headlines with the imbroglio surrounding its pilots. Fernando Alonso officially spoke on the subject, while Daniel Ricciardo also announced his departure from McLaren.

Strange situation in the paddock at Spa-Francorchamps on the alpine side. The French team left Hungary happy with its performance, before the drivers’ issue collapsed, marked by the announcement of Fernando Alonso’s departure and then by Oscar Piastri’s refusal to take over. Today, all these beautiful people are under the colors of A fléché, but in an atmosphere that is imagined stormy.

Also, Oscar Piastri was supposed to participate in EL1 this Friday. He was asked to stay in Enstone to work on the simulator. At least he’s still a member of Alpine. His contract status should also be cleared up soon as, according to the very well informed Motorsport.com, the FIA’s Contract Recognition Council “will meet next week” and could provide the final conclusions.

McLaren has not hesitated to follow suit in this procedure, already announcing the end of the contract of its driver Daniel Ricciardo. The Australian is a direct victim of this matter, and will have to leave his seat a year earlier than initially planned. There is no doubt that Oscar Piastri will replace him, subject to contractual conclusions and discussions that are envisioned between McLaren and Alpine over compensation.

“It’s not great, I’m really mixed up, but you better hear it from me: 2022 will be the last year with McLaren.”Daniel Ricciardo said midweek. “We put a lot of effort on both sides, but it just didn’t work out the way we wanted, so the team decided to make a change for next year.”

The Australian hasn’t communicated his plans but is heavily booked to join Alpine, his former team. He affirms his attachment to Formula 1 and the possibility of taking a gap year if an interesting seat is not available. A way to make believe that he remains in control of his future if Alpine Adventure chooses another option.

“Despite the difficult times, I never lost confidence in myself”he says. “One thing is for sure, I want to be in F1 but with the idea of ​​fighting for beautiful things. I don’t want to be a driver just to make the number. What the future holds. But if the right opportunity arises, F1 is where I want to be. At this point in my career, that’s where I see myself. If the planets don’t align no by next year, would I be willing to take a sabbatical to recharge my batteries? Yes I will if necessary.

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However, Daniel Ricciardo confirms that Alpine is a credible option in his eyes.

” Yes [je suis intéressé par Alpine]I don’t know how else to say it”he says. “I think it ended well between us in the Renault days, yes. It was a bit awkward for a while, but once we raced and had the year that we had, I think everyone saw that I was determined to make the most of this year. .”

Absent from the paddock, Oscar Piastri did not rule on this case. On the contrary, Fernando Alonso spoke at length with the press to explain his decision. Although very attached to Alpine and the Renault Group, the Spaniard leaves no doubt that his choice is based on the lack of will of the A fléché leaders to retain him. He too thought that Oscar Piastri’s stay was just a formality.

“It was my intention [de rester chez Alpine]And I didn’t hide it either.”affirms the two-time world champion at a press conference, on the sidelines of the Belgian Grand Prix. “In every press conference I’ve done this year, I’ve made it pretty clear that I’m happy with the progress we’re making on a team level.”

“For some reason we hadn’t made any progress for a few months and it seemed logical for me to leave because Aston really wanted me and trusted my abilities on and off the track to develop the project. After all the negotiations and the last few months I felt that Making this seat available to a young and talented driver like Oscar was the right thing to do, a win-win situation.”he adds.

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Alpine through Otmar Szafnauer claimed to have heard the news of Fernando Alonso’s departure through the Aston Martin press release. The Spaniard claims that this is not true, after having spoken with Laurent Rossi and Luca de Meo. However, the time is not specified. In any case, it’s also a good way to sow a little more discord within the team where you can feel some resentment from the pilot regarding Arrow Direction A.

“Otmar probably didn’t know anything”confirms Fernando Alonso. “But before the announcement I informed Laurent Rossi, President Luca de Meo, my mechanics and my engineers. So all the people involved in the negotiations were informed before the announcement that Aston Martin was not involved in the negotiations, and yes , Laurent or Luca probably didn’t call him before the announcement and he was surprised.”

In addition to guaranteeing his perfect involvement until the end of the season, the two-time world champion had a word for the Alpine and Renault brands, without forgetting their common history. An intention that is like a pill to digest this case.

“It has been an incredible adventure for me to return to F1 with Alpine, which I consider my team, my family”says about it. “We won so many things together, and it will be part of our history, not only the history of the Renault group but also Fernando’s history; we achieved it together. I was happy.”

Too bad to end this one more time ” History “ in this way. Alpine must ignore this and prepare for the consequences. The paddock is unlikely to be stingy with rumors or other statements surrounding this dossier and in particular the identity of Esteban Ocon’s future teammate. To date, Daniel Ricciardo seems to be the best placed, although nothing is ever certain in Formula 1.

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