Team principal fires Daniel Ricciardo warning as he comments on ‘downward spiral’

Daniel Ricciardo is set to test for Red Bull later in the year, as part of his role as development driver.

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner believes Red Bull development driver Daniel Ricciardo has “done the right thing” by taking a step back from Formula 1 this season, after ending a miserable two-year spell at McLaren.

Other than winning the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, Ricciardo’s two-year stint at McLaren was woeful, with the Australian having struggled at every race against team-mate Lando Norris.

Norris was beating Ricciardo at almost every Grand Prix, with the 33-year-old’s poor performances having resulted in his 2023 contract with the Woking-based team being terminated.

As a result, Ricciardo opted against moving to another team to race, with the eight-time race winner instead opting to take a year off the grid, in a bid to rediscover his speed and love of F1.

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“I think he’s doing the right thing to take a year out,” Steiner told Mail Sport.

“I mean he’s still a reserve driver for Red Bull, he can be around cars, he can be in the circus. You know, because out of sight, out of mind. So he’s still there. 

“Then he needs to make up his own mind if he wants to continue or if he wants to call it a day and do something different. He is still pretty young, you know. A lot of people like him because of his personality… but it’s for him [to decide]. 

“It’s good to have a year in my opinion just to reflect on it because, for sure, the last year wasn’t easy for him because he is a good race car driver and he was beaten by his teammate. 

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“And for sure, he’s not happy about that. He’s still not happy. But does he want to come back and prove that he’s what he was before? A winner. Or is he given the opportunity? Because it’s not only his decision. It is the decision of one of the teams which take him on as well.

“So it’s not an easy answer there, but I think the first thing he needs to feel out for himself is if he wants to come back or not.”

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Had he moved to another team to race this season, then Steiner believes Ricciardo would have fallen into a “downward spiral” but that by returning to Red Bull in a background role, he now as the ability to “go forward”.

“It’s difficult to be beaten continuously by your by your teammate. And a big thing was made out of it as well, you know, press wise, and he had no answer at the time,” added Steiner.

“It’s a downward spiral once you fall into. Therefore, taking a step back, maybe could make him go forward.”