McLaren boss Zak Brown is copping backlash from his own network of reserve drivers as the Daniel Ricciardo and Oscar Piastri contract saga rages.

Australian F1 driver Ricciardo became embroiled in F1’s mid-year silly season following reports he will be replaced by young compatriot Piastri at McLaren in 2023.

The news erupted last week after Fernando Alonso blindsided the F1 world and jumped into Sebastian Vettel’s vacated seat at Aston Martin.

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Alpine then announced Piastri would be the man to replace Alonso, only for the Melburnian to reject the seat — a bold move for a man who is yet to drive in F1.

Now Ricciardo has asked for a $21 million payout from McLaren for the early termination of his contract, according to Speedcafe.com.

But as the drama unfolds, the fallout has extended all the way to the United States.

IndyCar drivers Pato O’Ward, Colton Herta and Alex Palou were each targeting the vacant Alpine seat, but the trio have seemingly been sidelined by Brown.

According to leading IndyCar driver O’Ward, Brown dangled the F1 carrot in front of the Americans before going all in on Piastri.

“It’s not good for me to have that illusion. It’s a dream that’s very far away, because although I’m racing at a very high level, it’s still not enough to convince them,” O’Ward told ESPN.

“There are many things that come into play that are beyond me.

“I found it laughable. I saw it and I laughed.

“The same prize has been put in front of many other drivers by Brown. In the end, there is only one seat and not five.”

If Piastri does indeed take his place at McLaren, Ricciardo’s most likely landing spot would be Alpine, the French team formerly known as Renault where he spent two seasons in 2019 and 2020.

Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer slammed Piastri for his apparent betrayal in a blistering spray over the weekend.

“I expected more loyalty from Oscar than he is showing,” the Alpine team principal told Spanish publication El Confidencial.

“I started in 1989 in Formula 1 and I’ve never seen anything like this. And it’s not about Formula 1, it’s about integrity as a human being.

“It could happen in ice hockey or soccer, it doesn’t matter. But you don’t do that. He signed a piece of paper, a document, saying he would do something different.

“For me, the way I grew up, I don’t need to sign a piece of paper and then have someone say, ‘You’re lying, because you signed this.’ For me, if you say, ‘Hey, help me, I’ll help you tomorrow,’ there’s no way I would go back on my word. No way.”

“He should (drive with the) team that has taken care of him, that has taken him to the world championship and, above all, that during the last year has put him in a Formula 1 car so that he would be ready, so that he would know the circuits,” Szafnauer added.

“You did everything I asked you to do (from Alpine to Piastri) and now I promise you that if you do this, I will do this. I don’t need a piece of paper where it says, ‘With a clause, I can get out of here’.

“There should be some loyalty to the fact that we have invested literally millions and millions of euros to prepare him. So I don’t understand it either, you should ask him.”

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