Haas team principal Guenther Steiner has reportedly let slip Daniel Ricciardo’s F1 contract demands after the Aussie was dumped by McLaren at the end of the 2022 season.
PlanetF1 reports the 33-year-old Aussie’s demands were revealed by Steiner during a scene from the upcoming fifth season of Netflix’s wildly popular Drive to Survive series.
The scene was filmed as Haas were deliberating what to do with the driver’s seat that was set to be made vacant in 2023 with the departure of Mick Schumacher.
Discussing the matter with the team’s top driver Kevin Magnussen, Ricciardo’s name was quickly brought up as the perfect replacement for Schumacher.
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“Ricciardo?” Magnussen suggested.
Steiner’s response was emphatic.
“We can’t afford it, Kevin. He wants ten f***ing million (US dollars). Minimum,” Steiner said.
Conversation then turned to the more realistic option of Nico Hülkenberg, the German F1 veteran who was eventually signed by Haas for the 2023 season.
“What about the Hulk?” Magnussen reportedly said.
Meanwhile Ricciardo ended up agreeing to terms to return to Red Bull as the team’s reserve driver for the 2023 season.
There are suggestions his lofty contracts demands to return to a full time driver’s seat were a means to ensure he could essentially take a break from the sport this year.
The Perth native was clearly burnt out by F1 amid McLaren’s disastrous 2022 season, where his best finish was a fifth position at the Singapore Grand Prix.
Ricciardo reportedly commanded a US$17 million (A$24m) during his McLaren years, while earning a staggering US$42 million (A$61m) per season at Renault.
Meanwhile, the producer behind Drive to Survive has revealed who he believes will “replace” Daniel Ricciardo as the show’s unspoken main character.
“Without Daniel I think there probably wouldn’t have been a Drive to Survive,” Paul Martin told The Post.
“He was the first driver that we talked to about it, the first driver that invited us to his home in Australia. I felt very emotional with him leaving.”
The Box to Box Films co-founder believes French driver Pierre Gasly, 27, who will line up for Alpine this season, could “fill the gap” left by Ricciardo.
“For me, Gasly has always been in that role as well. The show’s been on this amazing journey with Pierre and I feel quite emotionally attached to him,” Martin explained.
“We’ve seen him go through some incredible lows: the season where he was demoted (from Red Bull Racing) and Anthoine (Hubert) died. So to see him finally get a chance again in a competitive car is going to be great.
“He’s grown on screen as a driver and as a person, so I think he’ll be someone who will really fill the gap that Daniel leaves.”
Ricciardo, who was named the Red Bull reserve driver for 2023 has long been a fan favourite, but he catapulted to international stardom after his natural charisma made him the obvious focus for “Drive to Survive” producers.
“I’m Daniel Ricciardo and I’m a car mechanic,” he joked in the first episode.
The eight time race winner, who counts Dax Shepard and Bills quarterback Josh Allen as close pals, quickly became renowned for his one liners.
“Netflix are a real bunch of c***s aren’t they,” he said in season two, and later added, “I’m the epitome of human high performance.”
F1 itself has also skyrocketed in popularity since the docuseries premiered in 2019, and Martin compared the sport to classic daytime dramas.
“It is a soap opera: characters get killed off, they come back, new characters come on,” Martin said.
He even likened Ricciardo’s departure from the F1 grid to the iconic “Dallas” shower scene, in which Bobby Ewing came back from the dead.
“I’m a big fan of the old ’80s soap operas so it feels a bit like Bobby Ewing. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Daniel pop up in the shower at some point this year,” Martin laughed.
“He’s such a character … if a few teams start to go wrong and it doesn’t feel like their drivers are working out, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Daniel back in a seat.”
Drive to Survive season five premieres on Netflix on Friday, February 24.