Ricciardo had his McLaren contract terminated a year early after his underwhelming performances alongside teammate Lando Norris and has been left without a seat in the F1 2023 driver line-up.

The Australian did appear to have options at Williams and Haas at one stage but has instead favoured a reserve driver role for next year with a view to securing a more competitive full-time return in 2024. 

Why was Daniel Ricciardo replaced by Oscar Piastri at McLaren for F1 2023?

Speaking to media including Crash.net on Thursday ahead of the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Steiner admitted he initially approached Ricciardo about a possible opening at Haas before McLaren decided to replace him with Oscar Piastri

Steiner cited experience as being a key factor behind the team replacing Mick Schumacher with F1 veteran Nico Hulkenberg for next season

“He still doesn’t speak with me!,” Steiner joked when asked why the team had not gone for Ricciardo. 

“He crashed into us last weekend, so I don’t answer his phone calls any more!” 

Steiner added: “At the beginning I reached out - actually before the McLaren thing happened - I reached out to see what he was doing next year.

“But then we didn’t go anywhere.”

At last weekend’s Sao Paulo Grand Prix, Ricciardo denied that he had already signed a deal to become Red Bull’s reserve driver, while McLaren admitted they are open to keeping him on in such a role.

Asked if Ricciardo would have been an easy option if he wanted the drive, Steiner said: “Daniel this year, obviously, didn’t do well, otherwise he would still be at McLaren next year. So we would have had to consider that one as well. 

“We would have known that at the moment he is not at the height of his career, but I still don’t get it because he is a very good driver and won races with Red Bull where he was very good and this year it just didn’t come together. 

“If you take someone like this then you again take the risk of can you bring him back or not. At least with Nico we don’t know.”