Formula One racing is back with the Belgian Grand Prix race weekend. This week several more stories broke surrounding drivers and teams that will shake up the overall look of F1 in the coming years.
Daniel Ricciardo Announces McLaren Separation
The Australian-born driver and the McLaren team announced they would be parting ways at the end of this season. Given the rumors surrounding younger drivers that have caught McLaren's eye; this is no surprise. It is also no surprise given the performance issues Ricciardo has been plagued with while with the team.
It seems that Ricciardo and McLaren are leaving on good terms as Ricciardo stated, “I’ve enjoyed working with everyone at McLaren both trackside and back in Woking and will be giving my all on and off track as we enjoy the remainder of the season together.”
The kind words continued with Andreas Seidl, McLaren’s Team Principal, as he stated, “I would like to thank Daniel for his dedication and contribution over the last two seasons so far. Despite the shared challenges, he has always turned up with a fighting spirit and positivity and helped the entire team to always keep pushing forward.”
It is uncertain where Ricciardo will end up next, as many teams currently have open seats for the 2023 season. Alpine, Williams, and Haas are all possibilities for Ricciardo.
Audi Set to Join Formula One in 2026
Last week, the FIA approved new power unit regulations which will go into effect in 2026. One of the goals of these new regulations was to open the door to more manufacturers who have since been absent from F1. Currently, F1 houses four power unit manufacturers: Mercedes, Red Bull, Renault, and Ferrari.
This past Friday, Audi announced they would join the F1 grid for the 2026 season. Audi will be taking over the current Alfa Romeo team. This take over means that the grid will stay at ten teams.
“I am delighted to welcome Audi to Formula 1, an iconic automotive brand, pioneer, and technological innovator,” said F1 President and CEO Stefano Domenicali. “This is a major moment for our sport that highlights the huge strength we have as a global platform that continues to grow.”
Audi will manufacture its power unit at its facility in Neuburg. This means that Germany will once again produce F1 powertrains for the first time in more than a decade. Audi has stated that they already have established test teams for f1 engine testing. Soon F1 fans will see those four famous rings on a Formula One car.
Continued Alpine Issues with Drivers
Recently, Fernando Alonso may have provided more insight into his surprise move to Aston Martin for next year. When asked about his relationship with Alpine, Alonso gave insight into the support he felt he was getting from Alpine.
“[With Alpine] we were moving around in different things and we were not maybe agreeing on the principles. It’s not only what you agree in terms of the duration of the contract, it’s just also the trust that you feel and how you feel wanted in a place… It was always a strange feeling.” Said Alonso.”
Finally, Alonso stated, “I felt that it was the right decision to move to Aston because they seemed to really want me and appreciate every performance that I was putting in in the last two years.”
Following the departure of Alonso, Alpine announced that they would promote Oscar Piastri to a driver's seat next year. However, Piastri refuted this statement saying he never signed a contract to drive for Alpine next year. Since then, Alpine has stated they will go to the Contract Recognition Board to clear up this situation.
Formula One is back! This summer break had its fair share of drama which may continue through the second half of the season. Even though this series is over, stories will continue to be updated here on Conduct Detrimental.
Justin Mader is a recent graduate of the University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law where he earned a J.D. and a Sports and Entertainment Law Certificate. He can be reached via Twitter: @maderlaw and LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/justin-mader-15a602119/.