Daniel Ricciardo to Join Alpine?
If you were to ask anyone to name the biggest star of the Australian Formula One scene, there is no doubt that Daniel Ricciardo would be at the top of your list. The 31-year-old has a history of delivering good results in F1, and has 32 podiums and eight victories to his name. However, his recent performances have been somewhat erratic.
While he has been performing reasonably well for McLaren, Ricciardo’s performance in the 2019 season has been a little disappointing. In particular, he has struggled to get over his lack of confidence in the car and is struggling to break out of his malaise. This is a problem that Alpine is trying to fix. Unfortunately, they have no idea whether this is a team-wide issue or whether it is specific to the Alpine RS01, which is the machine he drives.
Whether or not Daniel Ricciardo signs a deal with Alpine is unclear. There are a number of reasons for this. First, the money spent to sign Ricciardo is significant, and will be a big gamble for the Alpine management. Second, Ricciardo’s form would have to improve before the deal is sealed. And third, Alpine must evaluate fallback options for the 2023 Formula One seat that they’re seeking to sign Oscar Piastri for.
It’s easy to see why Alpine is interested in signing Piastri. He is an excellent driver, but he’s had trouble finding consistency with the McLaren car. A switch to a different car and a different team would allow Ricciardo to return to the high-flying form he showed during the first half of the ’19 season.
However, the most likely outcome is that the 32-year-old will head to McLaren. This would make Daniel Ricciardo the third member of the championship-winning trio that a few years ago. Not to mention the fact that he’d get to work alongside Esteban Ocon and Michael Lewis.
Moreover, he would be reunited with the team’s chief strategist Glenn Beavis, who had been the Ricciardo’s manager since he arrived at Red Bull Racing in 2012. Since leaving Red Bull, he’s been in charge of a major overhaul of the Renault car. By the end of the ’19 season, the new Renault was on its way to a fourth-place finish in the constructors’ championship. Ultimately, this was a massive coup for the French manufacturer.
But what’s the point of having a brilliant driver if he doesn’t have the right equipment to perform his job? In addition to his current set-up, he needs to consider how to re-program his driving style for the next decade’s F1 cars.
Of course, the most important question is not why Ricciardo is leaving, but why he is leaving McLaren. While the lure of a big paycheck and a potential move to an up-and-coming team is strong, he may not be as interested in an up-and-coming team as he is in joining a championship contender.
It’s not impossible for him to join Alpine, but his chances are slim.