A rather rare event for the current Formula 1: the team has signed too many agreements and is now trying with all its might to get rid of one of the drivers. The bold and cunning transfer moves of McLaren will now cost him a pretty penny – how did it happen that the British team will have to pay Daniel Ricciardo about $ 20 million?

Expensive bet on Riccardo

Just two years ago, McLaren thought they had hit the jackpot: after the decision of Carlos Sainz to go to Ferrari, the British quickly found a powerful replacement for the Spaniard, taking Riccardo away from Renault. For the sake of this, McLaren confidently issued the Australian pupil of Red Bull a sweet three-year contract (where the third is the driver’s option). Who, then, could have imagined that such a long agreement was not an achievement of the McLaren management, but a serious mistake?

Dan’s first season at Woking was a mixed bag, with the experienced Grand Prix winner suddenly falling behind Lando Norris. However, there were reasons for optimism: firstly, it was fair to give Riccardo time to adapt; secondly, a change in technical regulations could nullify problems with the behavior of the car; thirdly, after all, it was Riccardo who brought McLaren victory at the Italian Grand Prix. All in all, not a perfect season, but that’s okay.

It really got scary in 2022. It turned out that the new McLaren retained many of the features of last year’s car. And if Norris successfully adapts to an unstable car, then Riccardo simply does not feel confident in the car and therefore turns more slowly. In the conditions of a close middle group, it turns out that Lando often leads it, and Daniel is closer to the end and without points. From a pilot with such experience and, more importantly, such a solid salary, the team expects something else.



Hypocrisy from the F-1 champion: he lied to the face, although he had already signed a contract with competitors
Hypocrisy from the F-1 champion: he lied to the face, although he had already signed a contract with competitors

Zack Brown as Gunther Steiner

Note that usually F-1 team leaders protect their riders to the last (Gunther Steiner does not count) – usually right up to the day they are fired. All the more surprising was the recognition of Zack Brown that cooperation with Riccardo has not yet lived up to expectations. Formally, the McLaren boss said everything is correct, but, as we have already noted, this is usually not the case in F-1. Therefore, Brown’s words were taken as a sign that the team would try to part with Dan at the end of 2022.

True, both Zach himself and Riccardo assured: this is nothing more than healthy criticism, a contract is a contract. Moreover, Daniel later made a special statement on social networks, in which he directly stated that he intended to work out his contract with McLaren to the end.

In 2022, Ricciardo often finds himself at the end of the peloton

In 2022, Ricciardo often finds himself at the end of the peloton

Photo: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Until a certain moment, it seemed that everything would be so: there were no obvious contenders for Dan’s place. Yes, McLaren was gathering more and more IndyCar drivers under its wing, but all of them do not have enough experience in F-1 and clearly would have performed no better than Riccardo in 2023 – that is, landing Dan for them with huge monetary compensation was would be just stupid.

But then Oscar Piastri and his manager Mark Webber entered the scene. When it seemed to everyone that the rights to the Australian talent were securely assigned to the Alpin team that raised him (well, as the one who raised him, they noticed in time and took them under their wing in Formula 3 and Formula 2), it suddenly turned out that everything was not so simple. In this article, we will not analyze the legal nuances of Piastri’s agreements with Alpin: here you just have to wait for the trials. Well, the bottom line is that Oscar signed a contract with McLaren – with the explicit plan of both teams that it was Piastri who would become Norris’ new partner in 2023.

Prepare millions. Tens of millions

But what about Riccardo? This is where the fun begins. No one questions Daniel’s contract, even if formally the Australian still has to activate the option for the 2023 season. There is no legal basis for the McLaren to simply drop Ricciardo out of the cockpit and clear the area under Piastri. So there are three options: to pay Daniel monetary compensation, which will suit the pilot, to do the same, but by court order, or to postpone the replacement of Riccardo Piastri for one season.



Scandal in F-1: supernovice disowned his own team after the announcement of the contract
Scandal in F-1: supernovice disowned his own team after the announcement of the contract

At McLaren, they want to part with Dan relatively amicably and certainly not delay Piastri’s debut – but you will have to pay dearly for this. There are already two insiders from reputable journalists.

Peter Windsor estimated that McLaren would have to pay about $20 million to terminate the contract. A little later, Peter’s version was clarified by his colleague Dieter Renken: according to him, Riccardo’s management requires $ 21 million from the team. Apparently, this is how much the Australian should have earned over the next season. At the same time, it is obvious that Daniel’s next contract – whichever team he ends up in, if Ricciardo continues his career in F-1 at all – will be much more modest. So it is obvious that the Australian pilot will try to shake the current employer to the maximum.



Related news

Ricciardo will demand $ 21 million compensation from McLaren. The amount is subject to change

Huge compensation – a mistake?

At the same time, there is still an option that would allow McLaren to save money: the team “only” needs to help Riccardo with employment. For example, if Zach Brown somehow positively influenced Daniel’s negotiations with Alpin, then the British could reduce the Australian golden parachute to, say, ten million. It’s just that it’s possible to agree, it’s still a big question … Well, Riccardo is unlikely to go to a potential transfer to other teams of the McLaren empire: according to rumors, neither IndyCar, nor even Formula E are of serious interest to Daniel.



Where do Formula 1 pilots invest their millions?  Some investments are very strange
Where do Formula 1 pilots invest their millions? Some investments are very strange

In general, a serious blow to the McLaren budget is ahead. The stakes are high: no one knows how well Piastri will adapt in Formula 1 and whether he will live up to the hopes placed on him. In the same McLaren, they remember completely different examples: on the one hand, before their eyes is the cool debut of Lando Norris and the sensation named Lewis Hamilton, on the other hand, the much less successful stories of Stoffel Vandorn and Kevin Magnussen, as well as who moved to McLaren after all one season in F-1 Sergio Perez.

A newcomer is always a risk, and it could easily turn out that in 2023 Ricciardo will flourish again at Alpin, and Piastri will become the same number two under Norris. Then the decision of Zack Brown will raise many questions. But the bets have already been made, the wallet has been opened – soon Riccardo will receive a pleasant SMS about a fabulous account replenishment.



Who to take to the F-1 team, from which the champion and super junior fled?  9 options for Alpin
Who to take to the F-1 team, from which the champion and super junior fled? 9 options for Alpin

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