Daniel Ricciardo has spoken to Oscar Piastri to tell his fellow Australian there are no hard feelings over the latter’s move to McLaren.
Piastri was confirmed as Ricciardo’s replacement last week after the FIA’s Contract Recognition Board ruled he has a valid contract with McLaren and not Alpine, with Ricciardo’s deal being terminated a year early. While the eight-time grand prix winner is looking increasingly likely to take a year out due to a lack of options on the Formula 1 grid, he says he spoke to both Piastri and his manager Mark Webber to acknowledge the situation isn’t personal.
“I will obviously touch on a bit of it,” Ricciardo said. “We hadn’t seen each other in person, so (Webber) wanted to basically just – I mean, I feel he didn’t need to, but he felt like he wanted to in a way apologize and try to just see how I’m doing.
“Obviously I knew as well. 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 OK. He feels really bad obviously how it’s gone down and obviously how things are put out there in the media and that. Yeah, it was obviously nice to speak to him.
“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. He’s trying to make it, he’s trying to get into Formula 1. This moment should be also really big for him. I don’t want to make it a bad situation for him, and that’s that. It’s nothing personal.
“So that’s all the conversation was. I truly do wish him well. I want him to have a good run in Formula 1, so it’s just the circumstances. That’s how it is. But I still obviously like Mark a lot and respect him.”
And Ricciardo says it was important for him to let Piastri know that he understands the situation and doesn’t hold any ill-feeling towards the 21-year-old.
“Yes, we spoke. Obviously I wanted to wish him well. Obviously what we spoke about is private, but it doesn’t bother me saying it. I wanted to tell him there’s no hard feelings, because if there’s no communication, you never know what someone’s feeling or thinking.
“Obviously he’s a lot younger than me, so I don’t know maybe how he feels, if he’s nervous to reach out and see how I’m doing. Also I wanted to make sure that it was clear that I understand his position and absolutely no hard feelings. So yeah, that was good.
“I think it made him feel better, and I think the last thing he wanted was to have some weird tension between a few of the only Australians that have ever been in this sport, so I’m glad that we’ve done that.”