Daniel Ricciardo is open to the idea of returning to Alpine but will only stay in Formula 1 “under the right circumstances”.
The eight-time grand prix winner is currently without a drive after agreeing to an early termination of his contract with McLaren.
That was announced during the week in a move that clears the way for Oscar Piastri to join the Woking squad.
Piastri was meant to drive for Alpine, though has made his position on that very public.
The 21-year-old took to social media to state in no uncertain terms that he would not drive for the Enstone squad next year.
That followed his announcement as Fernando Alonso’s replacement.
With Ricciardo the highest profile and most accomplished driver on the market, and Alpine the most competitive team with an available seat, it seems logical to renew that relationship.
“Yes,” he said when asked if he’d return to Alpine on Sky Sports.
“I don’t really know how else to say that.”
While logic would suggest Ricciardo is a good fit for what Alpine is looking for in a driver, there are questions about his previous stint with the squad.
The relationship ultimately ended on good terms though wasn’t without its turbulence following the initial announcement.
“Obviously, it was tough because we made the announcement before racing had even started that year, and it was COVID and there was a lot going on.
“So for sure, it was a little bit, yeah, awkward is probably the right word for a bit.
“But I think once we went racing, and then once we had the year we had, I think everyone saw that I was dedicated to making the most of that year.
“Time will tell. We’ll see. We’ll see what feels right, and is right, but it’s purely going to be on where I feel like it’d be the most competitive.
“That’s ultimately what it’s going to come down to. It’s not going to be about any other factors than that.”
There is no certainty Ricciardo will remain in F1.
Open to the prospect of a sabbatical, the Australian has stated his desire to race. However, does not mean he’ll accept any offer.
While wants to remain in F1 “a lot,” he’d only do so “under the right circumstances.”
Alpine is not the only team with a seat available next season.
Both Haas and Williams are potentially in the market with at least one of their current drivers out of contract for 2023.
However both offer less short term potential than the former Renault operation, therefore singling it out as the most desirable of the drives currently available.