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Ralf Schumacher’s ominous Ricciardo prediction

Former grand prix winner Ralf Schumacher believes Daniel Ricciardo could be out of Formula 1 if he departs McLaren at season’s end.

Staring down the end of his F1 career, McLaren has reportedly told Ricciardo it intends to replace him with countryman Oscar Piastri next year.

Being forced out of McLaren would leave Ricciardo with limited options, the most apparent being a reunion with Alpine after Piastri sensationally rejected the team’s announcement as Fernando Alonso’s successor last month.

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Ricciaro has a contract with McLaren for 2023 and recently stated publicly that he intended to honour it. Reports have also stated that the 33-year-old demanded a $21 million payout to terminate his deal early.

With negotiations over a final price likely to take place in the coming weeks, the figure is expected to shift depending on whether Ricciardo can accept an offer to race for another team – such as Alpine.

Ricciardo left Alpine after just two seasons – when it was titled Renault – to join McLaren at the end of the 2020 season.

A polarising figure, Cyril Abiteboul was team principal during Ricciardo’s time in the team.

Behind the scenes, cultural issues were touted as one of the reasons Ricciardo wanted out. Abiteboul was sacked ahead last year’s campaign with Renault citing a difference in cultural fit.

Current principal Otmar Szafnauer previously said he was open to a return for Ricciardo.

Daniel Ricciardo

But if he does not return to the French manufacturer, that may be it for him in F1, according to Schumacher.

“And then there is the question of Daniel Ricciardo,” he told Sky Sports Germany.

“Personally, I can’t imagine him getting another chance in Formula 1. But I wouldn’t know who Alpine should take at the moment.”

However, according to Schumacher, there are several other contenders who could still steal the seat out from under Ricciardo – his nephew and a circuit journeyman to name a few.

“The names are there, with every cockpit,” he said.

“Mick [Schumacher] hasn’t signed a contract yet either, so he would be a candidate. A candidate with speed, as you have seen.

“Nico Hulkenberg is also still in the starting blocks.”

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