Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo was initially nervous about returning to Red Bull Racing in 2023 due to potential negative opinions from team members, but he eventually regained his confidence and impressed the team with his performance.
‣ Daniel Ricciardo was nervous about returning to Red Bull Racing in 2023, fearing the opinions of some team members.
‣ Ricciardo’s return to Red Bull came after his McLaren deal ended early, and he initially joined as a third driver.
‣ The Australian driver was particularly apprehensive about the reaction of Helmut Marko, who was surprised by Ricciardo’s move to Renault in 2018.
‣ Despite his initial nerves, Ricciardo managed to impress the team with his performance in the simulator and in a test at Silverstone.
Daniel Ricciardo was a bundle of nerves about his return to Red Bull Racing. The Australian driver was particularly anxious about what some of the Red Bull Racing employees might think of him. This apprehension was further fueled by rumors of Helmut Marko’s doubts.
In 2023, Ricciardo made his way back to Red Bull after his stint with McLaren ended prematurely. Despite being financially strapped, he was given an opportunity to rejoin his former team as a third driver. Initially, his role was mainly focused on marketing duties. However, he soon found himself back in the simulator.
His first time back in the simulator was a tense affair. Ricciardo admitted to feeling nervous about reentering the Red Bull environment. “Christian [Horner] is very open, but I didn’t know how other people at Red Bull felt about me kind of coming back into the family into the team,” he confessed on the Beyond the Grid podcast.
Ricciardo’s fears weren’t unfounded. He had left Red Bull Racing at the end of 2018 to start a new chapter with Renault. His sudden departure had surprised both Horner and Marko, especially since Ricciardo had been offered a contract that met all his needs. Rumors suggested that Marko still had reservations about Ricciardo’s return to Red Bull Racing in 2025.
Ricciardo was also aware that he wasn’t returning on a high note. “I’m obviously coming off a pretty low season, so I’m walking into the team that’s won the championship,” he said. He wondered if people would see him as a washed-up driver or be happy to have him back.
Despite his fears, Ricciardo managed to win over everyone at Red Bull. His confidence was restored after several simulator tests. His performance in the RB19 at Silverstone was particularly impressive. He came very close to Max Verstappen‘s pole time on his first fast lap. This led to Marko calling Nyck de Vries to leave AlphaTauri.
Ricciardo is now looking forward to 2024. He believes that he is seen as a Red Bull driver once again.