Daniel Ricciardo cops blunt F1 ultimatum from Haas team boss

Daniel Ricciardo and Guenther Steiner are pictured side by side.
Daniel Ricciardo is a phone call away from a potential race set at Haas in 2023, Guether Steiner has said. Pictures: Getty Images

Daniel Ricciardo's F1 future rests in his own hands, Haas F1 boss Guenther Steiner has said as speculation continues as to where the Australian driver will find himself next season.

After agreeing to part ways with McLaren with a season left to run on the three year deal he signed with the team in 2020, Ricciardo's future in F1 is uncertain as he weighs up his options.

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The 33-year-old is reportedly not as interested in joining an F1 backmarker, having publicly discussed the possibility of him taking a break from F1 for a year before returning in 2024.

There's no guarantee that there'll be a seat there for him in a year's time though, particularly at a championship contending team - but that hasn't stopped Steiner.

Well known as a somewhat outspoken figure in F1, the Haas team principal shot to prominence in the Netflix Drive to Survive series thanks to his brutally honest manner of dealing with the trials of F1 racing.

Haas have Kevin Magnussen signed to a long-term deal after he was drafted in at the last minute to replace Russian driver Nikita Mazepin at the start of the year, when the team parted ways with the driver and title sponsor Uralkali, which was owned by his father.

Teammate Mick Schumacher's future is less certain, with the son of F1 legend Michael Schumacher a '50-50' chance of retaining his seat with Haas next season.

In an interview with German media outlet RTL, Steiner said Ricciardo was definitely on the team's radar, a logical prospect considering his enormous popularity in the United States.

“In his situation, Daniel first has to decide for himself what he does,” Steiner told RTL.

“It makes little sense to persuade him to do something, he has to decide for himself.

“If he feels like it, he will certainly call, otherwise he will probably say, ‘I’ll do a sabbatical or something else’.”

Haas are one of only three potential options if Ricciardo hopes to stay in F1 next year, with Alpine and Williams the only other teams with vacant seats at the time of writing.

Though Ricciardo drover for Alpine in 2019 and 2020 under its former guise as Renault, most F1 observers have suggested the French manufacturer will be looking elsewhere.

Williams, who have shown signs of improvement in 2022 despite years bringing up the rear in F1, would also be an unlikely choice for Ricciardo, while Haas' inconsistent performances may also discourage the Western Australian driver.

Daniel Ricciardo reaches out to Oscar Piastri after McLaren exit

Ricciardo is being replaced at McLaren by fellow Australian driver Oscar Piastri, after the Melbourne-born 21-year-old turned his back on Alpine, where he was placed as a reserve driver.

Piastri was publicly announced as Fernando Alonso's replacement at Alpine before sensationally rejecting the reveal on Twitter, with the saga eventually going to the FIA contract recognition board.

The board ruled that Piastri had been within his rights to sign with McLaren after determining Alpine did not have a valid contract with him, prompting fierce criticism from team boss Laurent Rossi.

Alpine had invested considerably in Piastri's junior career, which culminated in back to back F3 and F2 championships before he was signed as reserve driver for the 2022 F1 season.

Piastri was nervous about replacing a fellow Australian on the F1 grid, but revealed earlier this week that Ricciardo had reached out to him recently to wish him well.

Daniel Ricciardo is pictured in the cockpit of his F1 car.
Daniel Ricciardo reached out to Oscar Piastri to assure his fellow Aussie driver he belongs in F1. (Photo by Bryn Lennon - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

In an interview with the In the Fast Lane podcast, Piastri revealed Ricciardo had put his mind at ease about the situation by calling him soon after the dust had settled on his agreement to leave McLaren.

“I was planning on getting in touch myself, but with the timing of things, he was obviously at a race, and quite frankly I didn’t actually know if he wanted to hear from me," Piastri said.

“I was trying to think of what to say, but he beat me to it.

“A true professional, Daniel is. My respect for him was already extremely high, and it’s only gotten higher in the way he’s responded.”

Piastri was just 10 years old when Ricciardo debuted in F1 back in 2011, and like many aspiring drivers looked up to the eight-time F1 race winner as he progressed through the junior ranks.

He said having the backing and confidence of Ricciardo behind him had put his mind at ease as he prepares to debut in F1 next year.

“Him getting in touch like that, it was great for me personally,” he said.

“Knowing that there were no hard feelings, that really helps me quite a lot.

“That was good, to get in touch. That was a nice moment.

“It is a bit of a sliding doors moment, but I think if I can get close to emulating what success he’s had on track and also the character he is off the track, then I think I’ll be doing a reasonable job.”

With AAP

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