"You could see he was done with Formula 1" - Christian Horner talks about Daniel Ricciardo's mindset when he came back to Red Bull
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has stated that Daniel Ricciardo "was done with Formula One" when he came back to join the Austrian team at the end of the 2022 season.
The Australian driver was left without a drive heading into the 2023 season after his contract with McLaren was canceled a year in advance. He decided to take a sabbatical from the sport and decided to join Red Bull as the reserve driver for the recently concluded season.
While appearing on the Sky Sports podcast, Horner commented on Ricciardo's mindset when he came back to the team and how he was a shadow of himself during his early simulator work. But Horner emphasized the former Red Bull driver's impact on AlphaTauri, whom he joined in mid-2023.
"When he came to us you could see he was pretty much done with Formula 1 and he wasn't enjoying it. But slowly that smile came back, that energy came back, and certainly, that test he did in Silverstone for us mid-season was truly, truly impressive, and the work behind the scenes on the simulator, so he deserved the chance in the AlphaTauri," Horner explained.
"He was unlucky then to break his hand at Zandvoort. But I thought he drove very well this year and, most importantly, he put some engineering direction to the team with the experience he had," he added.
Daniel Ricciardo reflects on his first sim session with Red Bull
Daniel Ricciardo accepted that he had picked up "some bad habits" in his driving style and lacked confidence in his first sim session with Red Bull.
While appearing on the Beyond the Grid podcast, Ricciardo said:
"Yeah, and I think bad habits can just come in the form of a lack of confidence. It was the end of last year. Once the season was done, I jumped on the sim, I guess it was sometime in December before I went home for Christmas," he stated.
"Don't get me wrong, I was also nervous because I was stepping back into an environment where I knew Christian was very open doors, but I didn't know how other people at Red Bull felt about me coming back into the family, into the team, so I was also a little bit nervous with that," Horner added.
It remains to be seen if the Aussie driver can get back to his best in the 2024 season for AlphaTauri and make a claim for the Red Bull seat.