REVEALED: Daniel Ricciardo almost joined Alpine for the 2023 F1 season after McLaren desperately tried to shunt the Aussie driver there to mitigate the fallout of Oscar Piastri’s defection
- Daniel Ricciardo, 33, may have joined Alpine
- Followed his brutal exit from McLaren
- Eventually signed for Red Bull as a reserve
Seemingly unwanted F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo was close to joining Alpine this season after he was made surplus to requirements at McLaren, it has emerged.
Alpine boss Laurent Rossi seriously contemplated signing the 33-year-old, who was released from McLaren with a year left on his contract.
The move for Ricciardo was tied in with the destination of fellow Australian driver Oscar Piastri.
Alpine announced the Melbourne-based 21-year-old as a driver for 2023 – only for the young gun to later declare on Twitter he had not signed with the French outfit.
Prior to that bombshell, McLaren chief executive Zak Brown had approached Alpine with a plan to swap drivers: Piastri to McLaren, Ricciardo to Alpine.
Aussie driver Daniel Ricciardo was close to joining Alpine this F1 season after he was made surplus to requirements at McLaren last year, it has emerged
McLaren released Ricciardo with a year left on his contract, with his replacement fellow Aussie Oscar Piastri (pictured)
The plan was revealed in a soon-to-be released episode of the F1 documentary series Drive to Survive.
‘I feel like I can help. Let’s close this thing out,’ Brown told Rossi in a soon to be revealed episode of Drive to Survive.
‘Daniel – I’d love to see him here (Alpine)….but that’s only because I’d love to see him stay in the sport.’
However the plan did not come to fruition; Piastri joined Red Bull as a race driver, and Ricciardo returned to that same team as a reserve driver.
American team Haas also showed interest in securing Ricciardo, only to be priced out of the pursuit.
Also revealed in Drive to Survive, Haas team principal Guenther Steiner told driver Kevin Magnussen the Australian was well out of their price range.
‘He (Ricciardo) wants ten f***ing million (dollars),’ Steiner stated bluntly.
Ricciardo will earn a staggering amount of money in 2023 despite not getting a race seat.
His combined package from Red Bull and the contracted money owing from McLaren was reportedly $24million.
Instead of signing Ricciardo, Haas secured experienced driver Nico Hulkenberg to fill the seat vacated by Mick Schumacher.
The 2023 F1 season begins with the first race in Bahrain on March 5.