Mark Webber is reportedly pushing to replace his fellow Australian Daniel Ricciardo at McLaren with another compatriot, Oscar Piastri.
Piastri became a client of Webber’s management team, JAM Sports Management, in March 2020 on the eve of his Formula 3 debut. Since then, the 21-year-old’s stock has significantly risen with title wins in both F3 and F2.
Rumours have been circulating all year about a potential entrance into Formula 1 for the young Australian, potentially replacing Nicholas Latifi at Williams or Fernando Alonso at Alpine, with whom Piastri serves as reserve driver, having been mooted.
But according to a report, it is the McLaren seat of Ricciardo that Webber is targeting for 2023.
Speaking in his post-race Notebook show, Sky Sports F1’s Ted Kravitz said there are rumours floating around that Webber has advised his client not to commit to Williams as the McLaren seat may be on offer.
‘There are lots of rumours around as to why Oscar Piastri, the Alpine reserve, has not signed for Williams,” said Kravitz following the Austrian Grand Prix.
“Could the delay be that he and his manager Mark Webber are looking at potentially replacing Daniel Ricciardo at McLaren?
Had some more fun in the A521 😁 This time around Spielberg, always an awesome place to come back to! pic.twitter.com/ybbY8IJH7g
— Oscar Piastri (@OscarPiastri) June 3, 2022
“As every race goes by and points and performances fail to really come in for Daniel Ricciardo, maybe it looks more like, actually, McLaren will come in with a late offer for Oscar Piastri and nick him from under Williams’ nose and offer him Daniel Ricciardo’s seat for 2023.
“Obviously, that would leave Daniel Ricciardo maybe going to drive for McLaren somewhere else (in another racing series) or doing something else altogether.
“But yeah, good luck to Danny Ric as he continues to…well, as someone once said, drive to survive in Formula 1.”
Alpine have remained relatively tightlipped about their plans for Piastri but speaking before the Canadian Grand Prix in June, team principal Otmar Szafnauer said he believed Piastri would have a seat for 2023.
“We don’t talk about the details of our contracts with the drivers, that’s something we never do,” Szafnauer said. “So as much as I’d like to tell you, I don’t think I can.
“But when I do say yes, that’s the plan.”
There has also yet to be full confirmation of Alpine’s driver line-up for next year with Alonso’s contract set to expire at the end of this season. Szafnauer had originally said a decision would be made by the British Grand Prix, but the team have made no announcement as yet and the Spaniard announced he has yet to start contract negotiations with the team.
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