Ricciardo names his opening price to give up McLaren seat for Piastri

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Daniel Ricciardo has reportedly named his price to end his McLaren contract and pave the way for Oscar Piastri to replace him in 2023.

The Formula 1 summer break began with the driver market exploding after Aston Martin revealed Fernando Alonso would replace the retiring Sebastian Vettel for next season.

It was assumed, then announced, that Piastri would take the Spaniard's seat at Alpine, only for the Australian to deny signing a contract with the Enstone-based team on social media.

This is because the reigning F2 championship is understood to have signed a contract to be reserve driver with McLaren in Hungary for 2023, although the team informed Ricciardo the same weekend that their actual intention is for Piastri to replace him.

Piastri Ricciardo

To do that, however, the eight-time Grand Prix winner must be convinced to exercise an exit clause in his contract or have his contract bought out as McLaren doesn't have a mechanism to drop Daniel themselves.

And with Ricciardo long insisting he wouldn't do the former of those two options, Australia's SpeedCafe claims the 33-year-old has put an opening demand of $21m on the table if McLaren wants him to walk away.

The publication notes that the figure is likely to be reduced as negotiations take place and would only be paid in full if Ricciardo didn't find another seat in F1 next year.

If he did find another home for 2023, such as returning to Alpine, his salary amount would then be repaid back to McLaren.

The whole matter does seem to be heading towards an unceremonious ending to what has been a difficult two-year stint for Ricciardo in papaya, but for one weekend in Italy almost a year ago.

In that time, the Australian has simply failed to get to grips with the unique characteristics of both the 2021 and 2022 McLaren cars, meaning he has been thoroughly outclassed by teammate Lando Norris throughout.

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That being said, while Ricciardo admits he hasn't met the standard expected of him, he claims the process is a lot further on compared to last year.

“This time last year there was probably a little more head-scratching from everyone,” he told RACER.

“I think that’s because…the truth is, they just expected me to get into the team and kick ass. So there was probably still some pure head-scratching, like ‘hmmm, what’s happening?’

"That was probably overriding what needed to happen. I’m just speculating, but maybe too much energy was put into the why’s and this and that before it was ‘what do we need to do now to make him feel better?’.

“But this year, there’s more understanding and they know me now after a year, so I think it’s very clear what I like in a car, and even I’ve found this out.

“So when I struggle, the team now are like ‘oh, I can see it in the data, this is what Daniel is feeling and he’s proven in the last 18 months this is what he doesn’t like to feel. This is what’s holding him back from pushing the car to the limit, it’s this area here’.

“Whereas last year, it was still a little bit of ‘f***, what is it? What’s holding him back? Why’s he so much off the pace?”

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And before it was publicly known his F1 future is at risk, Ricciardo is keen to make his mark in the final nine races of 2022.

“A bit like last year, [I want to] kind of start that second half of this season with a positive bang and just get the ball rolling. The triple-header, it’s intense," he said.

“So I think come out and set some strong intentions. That’s the plan. Obviously, it’s easier said than done. But that’s certainly the plan.”