F1 Silly Season Gets Serious | Is Danny Ricciardo Leaving McLaren?

Summer break is a time when most F1 fans take a break from the sport. Journalists dub it the start of “silly season”. Without racing to report on, journalists turn their attention to rumours about potential driver moves and team shakeups. Silly season is an F1 tradition as old as time – but this year might take the crown for one of the most dramatic.

It all started when Sebastian Vettel announced his retirement at the end of the season. We expected to spend the summer speculating about who would take his seat at Aston Martin. Would his mentee, Mick Schumacher, step up? Could another driver make their F1 debut?

The first week of summer break gave us some of the biggest silly season headlines. Fernando Alonso shocked the F1 community by announcing his move from Alpine to Aston Martin. Alpine rushed to announce their reserve driver, Oscar Piastri, as Fernando’s replacement.

The Australian driver tweeted the now infamous “I will not be driving for Alpine in 2023” message. Silly season is now in overdrive? Where is Piastri heading? Are the rumours correct that he’s to be Lando Norris’ teammate next season? Where will Danny Ric go?

Alpine Loses Alonso and Piastri

You can always expect Fernando Alonso to bring the drama. The 2-time World Champion is making a surprising move from Alpine to Aston Martin. Alpine has appeared the quicker car all season as a rival to McLaren. This multi-year contract will likely see the 41-year-old Alonso finish his F1 career at the team. 

He appears to be leaving Alpine on bad terms. Team Principal, Otmar Szafnauer, found out about Alonso's move when he read the Aston Martin press release. He disclosed that Alpine was under the assumption that Alonso would be driving for them in 2023. 

It may explain the team’s knee-jerk reaction to announcing Oscar Piastri as Alonso’s replacement. A deliberately worded tweet announced that “reserve driver Oscar Piastri is promoted to a race seat”. The nature of the announcement raised eyebrows before the Australian driver responded that it was circulated without his agreement.

Mark Webber, the former F1 driver, is Piastri’s manager and is rumoured to have been in negotiations with McLaren’s Zak Brown. It appears that Piastri has a contract lined up to have the confidence to fully turn his back on Alpine. The Oscar Piastri battle is expected to turn legal in the coming weeks.

Could Piastri still end up at Alpine? The team seem to be digging in their heels.

Either way, we’re expecting sales of Alpine F1 caps to skyrocket when the second driver is confirmed. Could it be Danny Ric? 

Is Danny Ric Leaving F1?

Danny Ric is the driver who has benefited most from Drive to Survive. It’s impossible to go to a Grand Prix without spotting a sea of Daniel Riccardo caps. While Daniel is popular with fans, he’s struggled at various teams over the years.

He left Red Bull for Renault, promising to help the French team build itself back, before unexpectedly signing with McLaren. Although Riccardo won in Monza in 2021, the Australian driver has struggled to prove himself this season.

McLaren’s focus is on Lando Norris as their next-generation driver to rival Verstappen, Leclerc, and Russell. Daniel has hinted in the past about possible retirement plans. Rumours suggest he wants a $21 million payout if McLaren wants to end his contract early.

Riccardo’s potential moves appear limited. Would he return to his previous Renault team under its Alpine name? He’s rumoured to have burnt major bridges with senior management when he left the team. Could Danny Ric move to another McLaren motorsports team? Might he decide to throw in the towel and retire from F1?

With F1 summer break in full swing, it’s the perfect time to treat yourself to the latest F1 merchandise. Stay cool in the sun with an Aston Martin Bucket Hat, or cheer on the boys in red with a Ferrari Team Shirt. 

Join us next week when we’ll be counting down to the return of F1 with a look at the best F1 tracks.