1997 Formula 1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve says it is no surprise to him that Daniel Ricciardo doesn’t appear to be a leading contender for the vacant Alpine seat in 2023.
Fernando Alonso announced last month that he would leave the Enstone-based squad at the end of the year to join Aston Martin.
A number of drivers have been linked with the seat, however Ricciardo, who spent two years with the team in 2019 and 2020, has not been mentioned as a favourite.
The Australian has endured two difficult campaigns at McLaren, with the two opting to part ways at the end of 2022, ending his contract one year early.
With his future up in the air, a return to Alpine doesn’t appear to be on the cards for Ricciardo.
When asked if he was surprised that Ricciardo isn’t a leading contender for the drive, Villeneuve told F1TV: “Why should he be?
“He’s done two awful years at Renault, two even worse years at McLaren, that’s four years and how long has he been in F1 total?
“Almost half his F1 career has been bad and that’s when he’s had experience, so there’s no reason, especially for a team he has already driven for.
“It looks like the modern cars don’t suit his driving style because he was impressive at Red Bull, he did some amazing overtaking, he was ahead of Max [Verstappen].
“But Max was new to F1 and by the end of the  season Max was starting to get the better of him and that’s when he switched.
“Something happened in the switch that just didn’t work for him and he hasn’t recovered.”
Pierre Gasly has been rumoured to be in contention for the drive, despite extending his AlphaTauri contract until the end of 2023.
It would mean an all-French line-up for Alpine, who has Esteban Ocon tied down until 2024.
However, Villeneuve questioned the potential of the line-up, amid reports that Gasly and Ocon don’t get along.
“That’s a strange one, they already have a French driver,” he said. “The two [Gasly and Ocon] don’t get along, so don’t put them together.
“He’s under contract and you have to move mountains to get him, so it doesn’t make sense. And Gasly hasn’t had a very good season in general.”