Haas team principal Guenther Steiner expresses skepticism over Daniel Ricciardo's return to F1

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner expresses skepticism over Daniel Ricciardo’s return to F1

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner has spoken out in support of Daniel Ricciardo’s decision to take a year away from Formula 1. Ricciardo, who is currently Red Bull’s reserve driver, saw his contract with McLaren end a year early, after two difficult years with the team. Ricciardo’s young compatriot, Oscar Piastri, is now driving alongside Lando Norris at McLaren this season.

Ricciardo has expressed his desire to use his year out of the cockpit to spend time doing what he has been unable to do while a full-time part of the Formula 1 circus. He also hopes to work hard to put himself in a prime position to be selected for a competitive seat in the 2024 season. Steiner has emphasized that “competitive” is the operative word for Ricciardo, as he is keen for any F1 return to not simply be to make up the numbers on the grid.

Steiner recently revealed that he had shared a flight with Ricciardo on the way to Melbourne for his home race, although a 2024 seat was not on their minds as they spoke. Steiner thinks Ricciardo is in charge of his own destiny to a certain degree for next season. It is up to him to decide first and foremost whether he would like a place on the grid in 2024 before he puts the feelers out to try and gain a seat.

“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].”

Steiner emphasized that it’s good to have a year to reflect on Ricciardo’s career so far, especially after a difficult year, during which he was beaten by his teammate. However, it’s not an easy answer to decide whether Ricciardo should return to F1 or not. Ultimately, it is the decision of one of the teams which take him on as well.

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