DANIEL RICCIARDO is assessing his options as he looks set to leave McLaren ahead of the 2023 season.
Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo at 2022 McLaren launch
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Daniel Ricciardo reportedly enjoyed a phone call with Haas boss Guenther Steiner as the Australian assesses his options ahead of the 2023 Formula 1 season. Ricciardo has been linked with a move away from McLaren following a difficult tenure since joining the team for 2021.
Ricciardo has a contract with McLaren that theoretically should keep him at the team until the end of 2023 but he looks set to leave at the end of this season. He won the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, but has ultimately struggled to match the expectations of him.
The 33-year-old is also failing to keep pace with teammate Lando Norris, and McLaren are reportedly looking to clear the seat for compatriot Oscar Piastri. Meanwhile, Alpine lost two-time world champion Fernando Alonso to Aston Martin to replace Sebastian Vettel.
Rumours have been rife throughout the summer break regarding if and when Ricciardo might be forced out the team. The eight-time race winner held a phone call with Steiner ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix, but a return to Alpine is perhaps the most likely scenario for Ricciardo.
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Daniel Ricciardo and Guenther Steiner reportedly called before the Hungarian Grand Prix (Image: GETTY)
Haas are exploring who to pair with Kevin Magnussen amid reports of tension between Steiner and Mick Schumacher, although the German has improved over the last few races. Schumacher – the son of seven-time world champion Michael – is in the final year of his deal with the American team.
The German suffered a number of disappointing crashes before scoring his first F1 points at the British Grand Prix. Before he put in his impressive performance at Silverstone, he was involved in accidents in Saudi Arabia and Monaco that undoubtedly cost Haas millions to repair.
Haas could move for former Alfa Romeo star Antonio Giovinazzi as an option, with the Italian set to gain his first experience of the new era of cars at the Italian and U.S. Grands Prix. Giovinazzi will replace Magnussen and Schumacher respectively at the opening session of such events.
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Speculation surrounds Mick Schumacher as the German is currently without a drive for 2023 (Image: GETTY)
Giovinazzi appears to be the most obvious candidate to replace Schumacher if Haas wanted to alter their lineup. Steiner said Giovinazzi will help Haas assess where its car is at.
“Ferrari were keen to give Antonio some seat time in a current-spec Formula One car on a race weekend and we were naturally happy to assist,” Steiner said. “We enjoyed a similar situation back in 2017 with Antonio and Ferrari – the clear difference between then and now is the experience he’ll have gained competing for the previous three seasons in Formula One and the feedback he’ll be able to give us in Italy and America.”
The 22-race F1 2022 campaign continues with the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps on August 28 after the four-week summer break.