Daniel Ricciardo offered fresh hope of Alpine drive amid Gasly doubt

Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo at 2022 McLaren launch

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Daniel Ricciardo could be set for a move to Alpine with boss Lauren Rossi targeting a “more senior driver” for the seat. Alpine were understood to be after Alpha Tauro star Pierre Gasly but talks are reported to have stalled.

It is believed Red Bull will only drop Gasly from his deal if they secure the services of Indycar star Colton Herta. But, this looks unlikely as the American driver needs a super licence to compete in F1.

Rossi told Motorsport.com: “We need to find a driver that’s capable of scoring big points right away. This basically leads us towards a more senior driver if you will, but at the same that is capable to grow with us.

“So those are the criteria we use at the moment. Otmar [Szafnauer] is leading the process: seeing all of the drivers discussing with them, assessing options, assessing them here, potentially assessing them in tests. So I guess it’s going to be a process that is going to last a little bit.

“We want to make the right decision and there’s no hurry.”

Ricciardo is searching for a 2023 F1 seat after he was axed from McLaren over the summer break. The constructor signed highly-rated Australian star Oscar Piastri after the British Grand Prix and informed Ricciardo weeks later, after the Hungarian Grand Prix, that he would be getting dropped.

The McLaren driver confirmed he would be interested in returning to Alpine if they gave him a call. Ricciardo drove for Renault in 2019 and 2020 before dropping them for McLaren a year later.

When asked by Sky Sports F1 whether he left the Enstone squad on good terms, Ricciardo stressed he thought they had.

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He commented: “Obviously it was tough because we made the announcement before racing had even started in that year. It was Covid and there was a lot going on. For sure it was a little bit awkward for a bit, but once we were racing and had the year we had I think everyone saw I was dedicated to make the most of that year.

“We’ll see what feels right, and is right but it’s purely going to be on where I feel I can be the most competitive.” Alpine team boss Otmar Szafnauer also suggested there was no issue with bringing the former Red Bull star back to the team.

He added: “I mean, if you look at Fernando, for example, he comes and goes, and I think that happens to other drivers too. And I don’t think that’s an issue at all. I think what we need to focus on is, like I say, the plans that we have for the next 89-88 races.”

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