Daniel Ricciardo is set to make his season debut at the 2023 Hungarian Grand Prix with the AlphaTauri team. However, Christian Horner has said that he did not even recognize Ricciardo when he was with McLaren.
Daniel Ricciardo previously drove for Red Bull from 2014 to 2018. During this tenure, he was able to win multiple Grand Prix and was viewed as a future World Champion. However, since he left the team, his performance had been deteriorating.
How did Daniel Ricciardo’s F1 comeback happen and when was the decision made?
— Formula 1 (@F1) July 18, 2023
After failing to secure a seat for the 2023 season, he signed as a reserve driver, going back to his old team, Red Bull Racing. Last week, he tested the RB19 at Silverstone for the 2024 Pirelli tire test. During testing, Ricciardo seems to have put in some impressive times on the board. This helped him grab the AlphaTauri seat from Ncyk de Vries as he was underperforming.
Daniel Ricciardo had to regain his confidence after McLaren
Christian Horner had something to say about how Ricciardo was as a driver after he joined the team in December 2022.
“I didn’t really recognize the Daniel, over the last couple of years, that we’d sort of grown so used to, that had grown up with us. He came in and drove the simulator the day after Abu Dhabi, or a couple of days after Abu Dhabi. It was a complete disaster and he’d picked up every bad habit imaginable when he was working with this previous engineer.”
When Ricciardo arrived at Red Bull after a disappointing season with McLaren, he was nowhere close to where he was in 2018 according to Christian Horner. The Ricciardo we all saw in Red Bull was gone. He had lost his confidence in a Formula 1 car. When the Aussie was driving for Red Bull, he was known as the last of the late breakers, due to his ability to brake later than anyone else. However, we did not see this ability while he was racing in McLaren.
Daniel Ricciardo is ready 👊 pic.twitter.com/6cycrVNVdJ
— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) July 17, 2023
Horner went on to say: “Gradually we unpicked it. With each session, he just got better and better. You could see his confidence growing to the point that he was absolutely on the pace with the race drivers.”
Thankfully, Horner and the Red Bull team were able to help Daniel regain his confidence which as a result, improved his times on the simulator and on the track. This is why Helmut Marko decided to replace Nyck de Vries with Daniel Ricciardo.
Horner also said that Daniel is aiming for the Red Bull seat in 2025. So let’s see if the Aussie can give some impressive performances this season. Let us see how his performance is this weekend at the Hungarian Grand Prix.