EDIT: Since this release of this article was released, Piastri has reportedly agreed a 2023 deal with McLaren F1.
The driver market has imploded since the Hungarian GP, with Fernando Alonso's move to Aston Martin starting an unforeseen chain of events, including rumours linking Ricciardo back to Alpine.
Alonso's departure from Alpine has left them vulnerable as they scramble to reach an agreement with Oscar Piastri, widely believed to have reached a pre-agreement with McLaren.
Alpine expected Alonso to continue with the team, so when the Spaniard rejected their terms and switched allegiances, Alpine's plans for Piastri fell apart.
It seems that Piastri was under the assumption an Alpine seat would be unattainable for 2023 and so began discussions with other teams in the paddock.
Piastri still faces contractual challenges if he wants to leave the Alpine setup, but this has not stopped other drivers from contacting team principal Otmar Szafnauer regarding a drive for next season.
It is not uncommon for drivers and their camps to contact teams with vacancies. Still, the nature of Alpine's situation means there is a genuine opportunity for another twist in the summer transfer saga.
According to the German outlet AMuS, several drivers contacted Otmar Szafnauer after the Hungarian GP, including Daniel Ricciardo.
Only a few weeks ago, the McLaren driver released a statement emphasising his commitment to the Woking team.
However, considering Szafnauer's comments on the current situation, it looks plausible that Piastri and McLaren have reached a deal, though the specifics are still unclear.
The key is that McLaren is heavily linked to Piastri, and irrespective of what Ricciardo might say, his partnership with McLaren is still not working.
Ricciardo has a contract for 2023, so Piastri making the switch next season would be unexpected, but as we have seen in F1, contracts are not always watertight.
There is always the possibility that Piastri is playing the long game and eyeing a 2024 seat with McLaren. Whether the agreement is for 2023 or 2024, Ricciardo should search for alternatives if the papaya squad wants to sign the 21-year-old as his replacement.
Returning to Alpine, Ricciardo might be excited by the prospect of returning to the team he joined in 2019 after leaving Red Bull.
There are question marks surrounding how quickly Ricciardo might adapt at Alpine, but the project at Enstone is certainly a promising one. They currently sit 4th in the constructors and have the potential to make strides up the field as a manufacturer team.
There is no guarantee Alpine will specifically seek Ricciardo's services should Piastri embarrassingly escape them, but nothing is off the table in this increasingly unpredictable transfer market.