Formula One

Ricciardo admits he ‘felt for Piastri’ during Alpine saga


Daniel Ricciardo says he felt for Oscar Piastri, his countryman and successor at McLaren, during the latter’s contract dealings with Alpine last summer.

The unexpected announcement of Fernando Alonso’s transfer to Aston Martin compelled Alpine to promote Piastri to a race seat alongside Esteban Ocon for 2023.

However, unbeknownst to the French outfit, the highly rated 21-year-old had already committed to McLaren for next season.

The complicated situation was ultimately resolved by the FIA’s Contract Recognition Board in favour of McLaren and Piastri, and left Ricciardo holding the short end of the stick.

Ricciardo admits he ‘felt for Piastri’ during Alpine saga

But even though he was embroiled in his own career problems, the Aussie admits that he sympathized with Piastri’s plight.

“I definitely felt for him,” Ricciardo said on the In The Fast Lane podcast.

“Don’t get me wrong, of course my career was kind of in a way going tits-up, so I was certainly very occupied with myself and trying to figure out what the hell I was going to do.

“But at the same time I was aware of some of the comments and stuff that were going towards him.

“I felt for him I think for a few reasons. One is that it should be the biggest moment of your life, getting into Formula 1.

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“It’s a dream come true, and if it can’t really be enjoyed or celebrated, it’s a bit of a shame. And as well it was just kind of how the chips fell.

“He was in the situation, but it’s not like he created the situation. It was just a product of all these things happening and then, okay, he’s the guy, and that’s it.”

Pulling a few strings in the background as the situation unravelled was Piastri’s manager, former Red Bull racer Mark Webber, another potential source of resentment for Ricciardo.

But the former McLaren driver harbored no bad feelings towards his fellow Aussie.

“And of course, Mark has a job to do as well, trying to find his driver a seat,” Ricciardo said.

“I get how people were like, ‘Oh, you know, doing that to another Aussie!’, and blah, blah, blah, but I certainly didn’t view it like that or take it as it kind of seemed maybe from the outside.

“We were all just trying to do the best we could. No-one really knows him [Piastri] yet as well as a driver, as a character — as an individual.

“It’s a little harsh that he’s getting some stick when people are just making their own assumptions.

“So I felt for him. This should be one of the proudest moments of his career, not something that he’s scared to talk about.”

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Ricciardo admits he ‘felt for Piastri’ during Alpine saga

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