Daniel Ricciardo deserves better than a push or a paid year on the sidelines : PlanetF1

Getting paid $15 million to sit for a year may seem like a dream job for most of us, but Daniel Ricciardo deserves better from McLaren.

If, and at this point it is speculation based on many rumors and unnamed sources, Oscar Piastri has signed a letter of intent to race for McLaren next season, the Woking team will have one driver too many.

Ricciardo is the too much.

If McLaren has a choice today between keeping him or Lando Norris it would be a good idea as the Aussie has the team’s only win since 2012, Norris has been the much more consistent driver.

One cannot go against that. It’s a simple fact, because the numbers don’t lie.

But pushing the 33-year-old out when he has only one year left on the contract, a year that could be his last in current Formula 1, is poor form from McLaren that failed to give him himself, or Norris, a race-winning car.

However, Ricciardo has made it clear that he wants to waive his contract, the eight-time Grand Prix winner convinced there is life in the old Honey Badger, he just needs to get his claws into that MCL36.

According to reports, he holds all the cards, being the only person to have a say in whether or not he will be with the team in 2023. And he has until September to inform McLaren of his plans.

He has already done so, at least in the statement he made three weeks ago, in which he made it clear that he wants to continue with McLaren, not sit on the sidelines.

Read more: F1 2022 driver ranking 11-20: Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo and more

But even if Ricciardo takes that option and insists on staying at McLaren, that doesn’t necessarily mean he will race, as the team could do what Ferrari once did to Kimi Raikkonen and pay him to sit on the sidelines.

In fact, his options are push, sideline or race for a team he knows he doesn’t want there.

It has, as many have pointed out, a bad image of Zak Brown and McLaren as a whole if this is how they treat their drivers.

The company, already involved in an IndyCar contract story with Alex Palou and Chip Ganassi, has courted yet another in just a few weeks.

Not only do McLaren need Alpine to backtrack on their claims that Piastri is theirs, but they also need Ricciardo to be willing to fall for his sword, either by leaving the team to retire or joining another or take the money and sit on Vettel’s couch and watch Formula 1.

Some might argue that $15 million and not racing in Formula 1 is better than a pay cut and joining Alpine, as given the events of recent days, it seems like something is very wrong at Enstone.

Read more: Embarrassing for Alpine, but has Oscar Piastri embarked on a race he may not win?

Losing the in-form Alonso because they wanted him to become a seat filler for Piastri doesn’t say much about the management of the team, but losing two drivers in one week says a lot, and what it says isn’t great, about the higher ups.

Alpine has opened the door for Ricciardo to return to the team he left after just two seasons, but given that he actually retired after one season when he signed with McLaren after his first year at Renault, it seems inconceivable that he would want to go back.

What he wants, and has made abundantly clear, is to remain a McLaren Formula 1 driver. ‘I know what I have. I know my future. I know my contract.”

And then he threw it back to McLaren…

“Give me a winning car and I’ll win. That is the challenge for myself and McLaren. That’s the confidence I have in myself. That’s why I wake up and still want to do this.”

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