Guenther Steiner hands Daniel Ricciardo blow but keeps door open

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner opted to sign Nico Hulkenberg over Daniel Ricciardo for the 2023 season, in part due to the Australian’s salary demands.

Daniel Ricciardo’s return to Formula 1 next year seems less likely after Haas team principal Guenther Steiner appeared to rule out signing the Australian.

Haas opted to sign Nico Hulkenberg for the 2023 season over Ricciardo, bringing the German back to Formula 1 after a three year break as a replacement for Mick Schumacher.

In a scene on the Netflix show ‘Drive to Survive’, Steiner seemed to reveal that the reason for not picking Ricciardo was financial, stating that “he wants ten f***ing million. Minimum” during a conversation with Kevin Magnussen.

Since his return, Hulkenberg has been performing strongly for Haas, delivering increasingly better performances across the first three races, almost netting a podium in Australia.

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“I think Nico feels comfortable with us,” Steiner said.

“The team and the engineers love working with him. 

“He helps the team a lot to bring in his experience to bring us further forward.

“When I need him, he’s there for me – and when he needs me, I’m there for him,” the Haas boss said.

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With rumours swirling over whether Steiner will turn to Ricciardo for the 2024 season, he explained that it’s too early to make a decision.

“We haven’t talked about drivers or extensions at the moment,” Steiner said.

“It depends whether we are happy with [Hulkenberg] or not.

“We also have to see what alternatives there are, that’s what it’s all about. 

“Sometimes it’s important to stick to the status quo and get some peace and quiet into the house.

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“Everybody will want to speak with Danny after a year off, but I cannot promise anything, especially if our two guys do a good job. 

“I also have a new driver this year so I need to give him a bit of a chance.”

Having finished the 2022 season with 37 points, Haas is hoping for a better result with the pairing of Hulkenberg and Magnussen.