Ralf Schumacher believes Daniel Ricciardo will not get "another chance" to race in Formula 1 in 2023 as McLaren look to draft in Oscar Piastri.
As revealed by RacingNews365.com, McLaren are understood to have signed Piastri to replace Ricciardo, given the elder Australian's lack of form compared to teammate Lando Norris since he joined in 2021.
Although Ricciardo has an option for a third year at Woking in 2023, team bosses have told him that they want him out and Piastri in – with negotiations underway.
Piastri is an Alpine junior, but emphatically denied the team's statement that he would be racing alongside Esteban Ocon in 2023, as they search for Fernando Alonso's replacement ahead of his defection to Aston Martin.
As F1 silly season sorts itself out, Schumacher believes that Ricciardo has had his chance in F1 and will not secure a race seat for 2023.
Schumacher thinks Ricciardo's F1 career could be over
Speaking to Sky Sport Germany, for whom he is a TV pundit, six-time Grand Prix winner Schumacher suggested that Ricciardo's career in F1 could be about to end.
There are a lack of seats available for 2023, with the vacant Alpine spot the most appealing one on the market – although Ricciardo did bail from what was then Renault after just one season in 2019. He raced for the team throughout the '20 campaign as well.
"The names are there, with every cockpit," commented Schumacher, when asked who could be a realistic option to partner Ocon for 2023.
"Mick [Schumacher] (Ralf's nephew) hasn't signed a contract yet either, so he would be a candidate. A candidate with speed, as you have seen.
"Nico Hulkenberg (Aston Martin reserve and former Renault driver) is also still in the starting blocks, and then there's the question of Daniel Ricciardo.
"Personally, I can't imagine that he'll get another chance in Formula 1, but I wouldn't know who Alpine should take at the moment."
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Schumacher questions Szafnauer and Alpine
Schumacher also commented on the Piastri/Alpine situation that recently erupted.
As RacingNews365.com revealed, Piastri never held an F1 contract with Alpine and as such is free to race for McLaren – if they can get Ricciardo out.
Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer has already slammed Piastri for a perceived lack of loyalty to the team, which has backed his junior career and given him extensive mileage in 2021 F1 machinery ahead of his planned promotion.
However, Schumacher believes Piastri and his management – led by former F1 driver Mark Webber – have done nothing wrong in negotiating with McLaren.
"I like Otmar, but he is disappointed with his own performance, that he didn't see Alonso going and that he does not have a Plan B," observed Schumacher.
"That's the embarrassing thing and, ultimately, he has to blame himself.
"Oscar didn't do anything wrong and Alpine would have had to convey to Piastri that they were counting on him in the future.
"He won Formula 3 in the first year (2020) as well as Formula 2 (2021), [so] what should he wait for?
"I would have done the same if I had received an offer. McLaren are certainly a top team and it's a very good career move."
Piastri to settle well at McLaren, believes Schumacher
Should Piastri be in the McLaren in 2023, he will partner Norris at Woking – a driver who will be in his fifth season of F1 and have nearly 100 Grand Prix starts to his name.
Schumacher believes the environment at the team could be an ideal one for Piastri to develop.
"Otmar is a great team boss, but under [McLaren Team Principal] Andreas Seidl, he will feel comfortable and he will be carefully built up there," added Schumacher.
"In Lando Norris, he has a strong young teammate from whom he can learn a lot.
"One only hopes that the bad loser – Alpine – doesn't put obstacles in the boy's way.
"He was with them, they had everything in their hands, they just had to give him a contract."
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