Steiner not ruling out future Ricciardo talks
By Ian Parkes
Thursday 6th April, 2023 - 4:00am
Guenther Steiner has not ruled out the possibility of holding talks with Daniel Ricciardo this year over a possible F1 return in 2024.
After splitting from McLaren at the end of last season, Ricciardo is currently enjoying a sabbatical from racing after taking on the reserve role with Red Bull with whom he has been conducting simulator work and engaging in PR and commercial activities.
Over the Australian Grand Prix weekend, however, Ricciardo told select media – including Speedcafe – that the signs were pointing to him “getting back on the grid” next season.
It remains to be seen where Ricciardo has in mind given the drivers at the top teams are all contracted through to the end of next year, including at Red Bull, Ferrari, and Alpine.
Lewis Hamilton has yet to sign an extension with Mercedes, although it is firmly anticipated he will do so at some point this year.
Australian Ricciardo was heavily linked with Haas last year after his exit from McLaren was confirmed, and it was anticipated talks would take place.
In an episode of the latest series of Drive to Survive, however, that was screened on Netflix earlier this year, Steiner revealed Ricciardo’s exorbitant wage demands, exclaiming in a conversation with Kevin Magnussen that the 33-year-old wanted “10 f***ing million! Minimum!”
Steiner to at least Hulkenberg a chance
Asked about an approach this year for Ricciardo given his recent remarks, Steiner at least pointed to the fact he has only just started working with Nico Hulkenberg and Magnussen as a pairing, but did not baulk completely at the idea.
“It’s a little bit early to speak about a driver change already for next year,” said Steiner.
“So let’s see how we are doing with these drivers and, for sure, at some point maybe I speak with him but I cannot promise anything because if our two guys do a good job…
“For sure, Danny is…everybody is wanting to speak with Danny after a year off.
“Maybe he knows again what he wants to do and he will be interesting for everybody in Formula 1.
“But at the moment I have a new driver this year, so I need to give him a little bit of a chance.”
Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer has confirmed he held discussions with Ricciardo about a possible return to the team after leaving at the end of 2020, when it was previously known as Renault, for McLaren.
Szafnauer, who ultimately opted for Pierre Gasly, is confident Ricciardo will be racing in F1 again soon.
“He (Ricciardo) has signed with Red Bull now but I think, as Guenther does, he’s a fantastic racing driver,” said Szafnauer.
“He’s still young, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s back racing in the future.”
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