Haas team principal Guenther Steiner has left open the option of Daniel Ricciardo negotiating a 2024 Formula 1 seat with the team.
Ricciardo was compelled to terminate his contract in the last year, in the wake of two disappointing seasons with McLaren, leaving him without a race seat for 2023.
The Australian driver appeared to have some choices on the grid for 2023 after being linked to open seats at Haas, Williams, and previous employers Alpine with whom Ricciardo competed while the team was still known as Renault.
Guenther Steiner revealed that talks rapidly broke down, but despite this, Ricciardo’s salary expectations were higher than what Haas were willing to provide. Negotiations, therefore, failed to result in any serious conversations.
Ricciardo announced that he was taking a year off without a race seat after overcoming a particularly trying moment in which self-doubt had crept in. Most recently, he updated his followers on LinkedIn about the reset goals he has set for himself with a year off in 2023.
Ricciardo was a big topic in the team bosses’ news conference on Friday in Melbourne after finding refuge as a third driver, a position that will see him occasionally fill in as a reserve driver for Red Bull, including this weekend in Australia.
If the Australian driver decides to make a comeback in Formula 1 the coming year, Steiner said he would be open to starting negotiations with him again for 2024.
“It’s a little bit early to speak about a driver change already for next year,” he said. “So let’s see how we are doing with these drivers (Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg) 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.”
“I think where I stand with it, but 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 [Hulkenberg] that has done only two races, so I need to give him a little bit of a chance.”
Alpine team boss Otmar Szafnauer sat next to Steiner during the press conference and confirmed there had been preliminary talks with Ricciardo about reuniting with the former Renault driver. Ricciardo left Renault under former team manager Cyril Abiteboul to join McLaren on his destined to fail journey.
“So we had discussions with Daniel, ended up with Pierre when he became available and he’s signed with Red Bull now,” Szafnauer said when asked about his dealings with Ricciardo. “But I think, like Guenther does, he’s a fantastic racing driver, he’s still young and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s back racing in the future.”