OCTOBER 19, 2022
Steiner admits Haas talking to Hulkenberg
Daniel Ricciardo looks to be heading for a "break" from racing in Formula 1 next year rather than take up an offer for talks with Haas.
Haas boss Gunther Steiner said in September that he had sent a "text" to the struggling 33-year-old, whose final contract year at McLaren was bought out as the British team preferred to sign rookie Oscar Piastri.
Meanwhile, Steiner admits he has had actual talks with Nico Hulkenberg, who is bidding to return to the F1 grid next year after losing his full-time seat after 2019.
"I spoke to him," he told RTL. "I've known Nico for a long time - better than I know Daniel.
"We're talking, but nothing has been done yet."
On the other hand, Steiner indicated that Ricciardo has not shown interest in becoming Kevin Magnussen's teammate in 2023.
"If he's interested in us, he's not shy to call me up," he told the Associated Press. "I am not going to chase him down.
"I want him to decide what he wants to do for himself, first, before being talked into something. I think he's a good driver and I don't know how he got in the situation he's in now, but I think he needs to come clean with himself and decide what he's going to do.
"For us he would be a big hit. He was a race winner just last year. I rate him as a driver and I have no idea why he doesn't perform right now.
"That is for him to figure out."
Steiner insists that Mick Schumacher is still in the running to keep the seat, after team owner Gene Haas warned that the German will need to score points in the last four races of this season.
"I'm honest: it's still 50-50," he told the German broadcaster ntv.
"We will not make a decision between Austin and Mexico simply because there is not time. The next time would be after Mexico because we would have more time to deal with it."
Steiner denied that Haas is putting too much pressure on young Schumacher.
"As an athlete, you're always under pressure. He knows he has to perform. We're talking about it openly," he said.
"Pressure isn't a bad thing, because with pressure you also get an opportunity. And I think he can handle it well.
"We returned from Japan on the same plane and he was in a pretty good mood. He grew up in a racing family and knows what it's about. It's part of his job."
As for Ricciardo, most insiders think he has already decided to sit out 2023 as a Mercedes reserve driver.
"The more time that passes, the more I feel like it's what I need," he said when asked about taking a "break" from racing next year.
"There's not really anything in the form of opportunities for next year. Part of it is that I would like the break to reset a little bit and part of it is 2024 when there could be some better opportunities."