Daniel Ricciardo's meeting with Mark Webber amid Oscar Piastri saga

·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
Daniel Ricciardo and Mark Webber are pictured side by side.
Daniel Ricciardo says he has spoken to Mark Webber in the wake of his departure from McLaren, where he will be replaced by fellow Australian Oscar Piastri. Pictures: Getty Images

Daniel Ricciardo has revealed he's held conversations with both Oscar Piastri and his manager, former F1 driver Mark Webber, in the wake of his recently announced departure from McLaren.

An unfortunate byproduct of back-to-back F2 and F3 champion Oscar Piastri's much-hyped entry to F1 has been Ricciardo's demise at McLaren, however the former Red Bull driver says the trio have all spoken since to clear any fears of tension between the Australian drivers.

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Piastri has found himself at odds with McLaren's F1 rivals Alpine, who invested considerably in his stellar junior career but had to watch him be stolen from under them after it was determined they didn't have him signed to a valid contract for 2023.

Alpine, who Ricciardo once drove for when they competed as Renault, had announced Piastri as the replacement for Fernando Alonso, who stunned the F1 world by opting to join Aston Martin.

By this point Piastri and Webber had already been negotiating with McLaren, prompting Piastri to issue a memorable statement on Twitter rejecting Alpine's announcement.

Over the course of the Dutch GP weekend, Ricciardo revealed there had been a rare opportunity for he and Webber to catch up, with his Red Bull predecessor offering him an apology for the saga having played a part in his McLaren departure.

"We hadn't seen obviously each other in person," Ricciardo said.

"I feel he didn't need to, but he felt like he wanted to, in a way, apologise and try to just see how I'm doing.

"Obviously I know how this sport is: it's nothing personal to me. And he wanted to make sure that I knew that and understood that. And just to make sure that I felt okay.

"He feels really bad, obviously, how it's gone down and obviously how things have been put out there in the media. So yeah, it was obviously nice to speak to him."

It was a nice moment in an otherwise miserable weekend at the Dutch GP for Ricciardo, who qualified a lowly 17th and finished exactly where he started.

It was a tough weekend for the 33-year-old, with teammate Lando Norris finishing 10 places higher in seventh.

F1 championship leader Max Verstappen has made quick work of a safety car restart to win the Dutch Grand Prix in front of 100,000 adoring fans.

The Dutch hero made it four straight wins for the first time in his Formula One career with his victory on Sunday.

Verstappen's 10th win matched his tally from last year and the Red Bull driver extended his championship lead to 109 points.

Daniel Ricciardo and Oscar Piastri on good terms after McLaren switch

Ricciardo also said he had reached out to Piastri to see how the 21-year-old was doing, and had a similar conversation to the one he had with Webber.

While Ricciardo will likely have F1 suitors for 2023 with the likes of Alpine, Haas and Williams all having vacant seats for next season, he understood it was an awkward note for Piastri to begin his career on.

"I've also spoken to Oscar, to be honest, and just made sure that there's no bad feelings there. I understand how this works," Ricciardo said.

"He's trying to make it: he's trying to get into Formula 1. And this moment should be also really big for him. I don't want to make it a bad situation for him.

"That's that: it's nothing personal. So that's all the conversation was. And I truly do wish him well. I want him to have a good run in Formula 1."

Oscar Piastri is pictured walking through the F1 paddock.
Oscar Piastri says the handling of his F1 contract with Alpine has been a 'bizarre and upsetting' saga. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Piastri said he had been in the simulator when Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer told him he was going to be announced as an Alpine driver from the 2023 season.

According to Szafnauer, Piastri just "smiled and was thankful."

But Piastri told F1: "That was a bizarre and frankly upsetting episode.

"It was done publicly in front of some members of the team who were oblivious to the situation (regarding his contract talks with McLaren) and I didn't want to cause a scene in front of them.

"Once we were in private, I told Otmar what our position was and what he had been told multiple times before that.

"To have that falsely announced was something my management and I felt we had to correct and there was also potential legal implications if we didn't deny the announcement," added Piastri, who subsequently announced on social media he wouldn't be driving for Alpine.

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