Steiner hints door is open for Ricciardo talks over 2024 return to grid

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Steiner hints door is open for Ricciardo talks over 2024 return to grid

Formula 1

Steiner hints door is open for Ricciardo talks over 2024 return to grid


Haas team principal Guenther Steiner hints he’d be willing to talk to Daniel Ricciardo about a future race seat after the Australian said he’s leaning towards wanting to return to Formula 1 in 2024.

Ricciardo opted against pursuing a vacancy at Haas once he had been released from his McLaren contract last year, preferring to take a season away from racing and joining Red Bull as third driver instead. On his first race weekend appearance, Ricciardo was quoted by ESPN as saying that he’s already thinking about a racing return next year.

“The signs are pointing towards getting back on the grid,” Ricciardo said. “I feel like that’s where I’m tracking in my head and a few of the habits that I’m having or doing is pointing towards that.

”It’s only been a few months but I think some itches have been scratched, so to speak. I’ve actually weirdly found that the days that I’ve had no schedule are the days when I’ve actually done training, and I’ve done things like I would before.”

Given the fact that Steiner was interested in speaking to Ricciardo last year before choosing Nico Hulkenberg to replace Mick Schumacher, the Haas team principal says Ricciardo’s previous snub hasn’t closed the door even if his current lineup takes priority.

“It’s a little bit early to speak about a driver change already for next year,” Steiner said. “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…

“But for sure, 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 that has done only two races, so I need to give him a little bit of a chance.”

Ricciardo’s current team boss Christian Horner says he has already seen signs of improvement from the 33-year-old after two tough years at McLaren appeared to impact his driving style.

“When he first turned up after Abu Dhabi — I think the problem is when you drive a car that obviously has its limitations, you adapt and you try and adjust to extract the maximum out of that car,” Horner said. “And it was clear when he came back, that he picked up some habits that we didn’t recognize as the Daniel that that had left us two or three years earlier.

“But having had time off over Christmas and so on and a chance to reset, when he’s come back and got into the 2023 work, he’s hit the ground running and I think he likes the feel of the car in the virtual world which seems to correlate well with what we’re seeing in the actual world. I think he’s desperate to get a run in the car at some point to validate that, but we’re certainly seeing him getting back to being far more reminiscent of the Daniel that we knew.”