Asked recently whether he had spoken to Alonso, Szafnauer replied: “I haven’t talked to him, since he’s on a boat, I think, in the Greek Isles somewhere.”
Alonso then posted on Instagram a video of himself walking in his home town of Oviedo in northern Spain. He also tweeted a picture of a go-kart at his museum track with the caption “favorite activity on holidays”.
The dispute echoes another ongoing contract clash between McLaren and Chip Ganassi Racing in IndyCar over reigning champion Alex Palou.
Spaniard Palou announced last month that he will be joining McLaren’s roster of drivers for 2023, hours after Ganassi said he was staying with them.
Given that Perth-product Ricciardo – who has struggled to get the best out of an inconsistent McLaren this season – has a firm contract in place for 2023 with the team, the two parties will have to agree to a settlement. Motorsport.com has reported that will involve a “substantial pay-off in order for him to walk away at the end of this season”.
He has also been linked with a potential move back to Alpine, where he spent two seasons in 2019 and 2020.
Melbourne-born Piastri, one of the most exciting prospects in the sport, had been linked with iconic teams Williams and McLaren, but his mother Nicole Piastri last month told The Age said she had no inside knowledge about when her 21-year-old son’s Formula 1 debut might happen.
Ricciardo is now 33 but has eight F1 grand prix victories to his name – the latest of which was at Monza last season ahead of Norris in a famous one-two finish.
Last month he posted a defiant message on social media about how he is committed to Formula 1 racing and how he’s determined to stay with McLaren through to the end of his contract next year.
“I’m working my ass off with the team to make improvements and get the car right and back to the front where it belongs,” said Ricciardo in a passionate Twitter post. “I still want this more than ever.”
Ricciardo is currently 12th on the 2022 driver standings with 19 points. Norris is seventh with 76.
Piastri is managed by another Australian, nine-time F1 race winner Mark Webber and last year won his third world title in as many seasons, joining current Ferrari and Mercedes F1 racers Charles Leclerc and George Russell as the only other drivers to claim the F3 and F2 crowns in consecutive campaigns. Piastri also won the Formula Renault Eurocup title in 2019.
With Reuters, AAP
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