Too early for Hulkenberg, Ricciardo talks – Steiner

Daniel Ricciardo seems unlikely to return to the Formula 1 grid next year with Haas.

Late last year, as Ricciardo lost his McLaren race seat for 2023, Haas boss Gunther Steiner had brief talks with the Australian.

“He wants ten f***ing million. Minimum,” Steiner said.

Steiner ultimately brought Nico Hulkenberg out of his three-year forced sabbatical to replace the struggling Mick Schumacher.

He is happy with his choice.

“I think Nico feels comfortable with us,” Steiner told the German broadcaster ntv. “The team and the engineers love working with him.

“He helps the team a lot to bring in his experience to bring us further forward.”

Steiner also said his personal relationship with Hulkenberg, 35, is “very easy”.

“When I need him, he’s there for me – and when he needs me, I’m there for him,” he said.

But while it may seem like Haas and Hulkenberg are headed towards a definite contract extension for 2024, Steiner insists it’s too early for that.

“It depends whether we are happy with him or not,” he said.

“We also have to see what alternatives there are, that’s what it’s all about. Sometimes it’s important to stick to the status quo and get some peace and quiet into the house.

“But we haven’t talked about drivers or extensions at the moment,” Steiner said.

As for Ricciardo, apart from his high salary demands, the Australian has also said he doesn’t want to rebuild his race career from the ground up with anything other than a “top team”.

When asked about Ricciardo specifically, Steiner answered: “At some point, maybe I will speak with him.

“Everybody will want to speak with Danny after a year off, but I cannot promise anything, especially if our two guys do a good job. I also have a new driver this year so I need to give him a bit of a chance.”

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