McLaren want to replace the Australian with his younger compatriot for 2023. Piastri was promoted to a race seat by Alpine after Fernando Alonso announced he would be leaving for Aston Martin, but the Formula 2 champion has other plans for his F1 debut.
Instead of sticking with the Enstone outfit, Piastri wants to join McLaren – an opportunity negotiated by his manager Mark Webber. But Ricciardo is guaranteed at least one more year after this on his current deal, and is determined to see out that contract – or at least receive a hefty payday.
According to Australian site Speedcafe, the 33-year-old is the only party with the power to cancel his contract, leaving McLaren in a tight spot. To give up his seat with the team, the report claims, Ricciardo has asked for a fee of more than £12million.
The final fee is expected to be less if both sides strike a deal, but still Ricciardo will earn millions for stepping aside to allow Piastri to race alongside Lando Norris. And even if he does, his F1 future is likely to be secure with several teams waiting to pounce.
At least four teams have been in contact with the Aussie to get a sense of his intentions in recent weeks. One of them is believed to be Alpine, who would consider bringing Ricciardo back into the fold should they end up losing Piastri to McLaren.
"I mean, if you look at Fernando, for example, he comes and goes, and I think that happens to other drivers too," said chief Otmar Szafnauer. "And I don't think that's an issue at all. I think what we need to focus on is, like I say, the plans that we have for the next eight or nine races.
"We've got to make sure that we complement that plan with the best driver that we can, and there are some options out there for us. And we put the best driver in next to Esteban [Ocon], so that we can move forward towards what we've been planning."
As for Piastri, the whole saga is set to go to court with both teams confident they have a valid contract with the racer. If Alpine can indeed prove they have the right to promote their reserve to a race seat next year, then McLaren could be on the hook for another huge payout if Piastri decides to break that deal.