Haas F1 boss Guenther Steiner has opened up about why a move for Daniel Ricciardo never materialised.
Steiner was in touch with Ricciardo even before his exit from McLaren was confirmed in the middle of the year. The Australian has been let go a year before the end of his contract after two seasons of struggle with the Woking team.
Two of the few options on the grid were with backmarkers Haas and Williams but Ricciardo, eager for a break from the sport, has instead pursued a third driver role with a leading team with a view to getting back on the grid in 2024.
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He held talks with Mercedes, who are in the market for a third driver after losing Nyck de Vries to AlphaTauri, but has instead returned to former team Red Bull instead. Having explored bringing Ricciardo to his team, Steiner has no qualms with his decision to take some time out.
“I text him, I didn’t even speak with him, before it all went down with McLaren, because we all could feel something is going wrong here,” Steiner told F1’s latest Beyond The Grid podcast.
“But then we never got together. I respect what he’s doing. You cannot beg a guy to come and drive for you. It doesn’t work.
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“A driver cannot force a team to have him, that doesn’t not work. If he had been interested, he would have called me.
“I respect his decision 100 per cent. He has said maybe he needs to take a step back to take two forwards because he ended up in a very difficult position at McLaren. Lando is going a fantastic job and Danny has struggled.
“So maybe he wants to find himself again because he is a good driver. I don’t know why it has happened [at McLaren]. I hope he knows because he is an asset to Formula 1.”
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