Oscar Piastri discusses Daniel Ricciardo phone call after McLaren driver switch

Jon Wilde
Oscar Piastri and Daniel Ricciardo standing with a mural. Melbourne April 2022.

Oscar Piastri and Daniel Ricciardo standing with a mural of them and Mark Webber. Melbourne April 2022.

Oscar Piastri has indicated there was no awkwardness when he received a phone call from Daniel Ricciardo to wish him well at McLaren.

That means, of course, for the job in which he has supplanted his fellow, more senior Australian.

McLaren have taken the decision to replace eight-time grand prix winner Ricciardo with a rookie 12 years his junior and who has never even driven in a Formula 1 race.

With Ricciardo having produced disappointing results since joining the team at the start of 2021 apart from a solitary podium finish, namely a surprise victory at the Italian Grand Prix, McLaren have opted for a line-up of youth and potential.

Having lured him away from the Alpine Academy, the Woking-based constructor will pair up the 2021 Formula 2 champion – who has served as simulator and reserve driver for the French team this season – with 22-year-old Lando Norris.

Being compatriots, the driver switch could have created some tension between Piastri and Ricciardo – but that has been addressed in a phone call instigated by the 33-year-old.

Asked during the latest edition of the In The Fast Lane podcast whether he remains on good terms with Ricciardo, Piastri said: “Yes, I think so. That was a really great thing, for Daniel to get in touch.

“I was planning on getting in touch myself but with the timing of things, he was obviously at a race and quite frankly I didn’t actually know if he wanted to hear from me.

“I was trying to think of what to say but he beat me to it.

“A true professional, Daniel is. My respect for him was already extremely high and it’s only got higher in the way he’s responded.”

Oscar Piastri walking on the grid with headphones around his neck. Imola April 2022.
Alpine reserve driver Oscar Piastri walking on the grid with headphones around his neck. Imola April 2022.

There is also relief from Piastri that a driver he clearly looks up to has responded in such a classy way to such a difficult situation, especially with Ricciardo’s future remaining uncertain with no alternative job yet confirmed.

“Him getting in touch like that was great for me personally,” said Piastri.

“Knowing there was no hard feelings, that really helped me quite a lot. So that was good, to get in touch. That was a nice moment.

“It’s a bit of a sliding doors moment but I think if I can get close to emulating what success he’s had on track and also the character he is off the track, I think I’ll be doing a reasonable job.”

Read more: McLaren saga will stick with Oscar Piastri forever ‘even if he becomes next Michael Schumacher’