Daniel Ricciardo has revealed that being reunited with Red Bull engineer Simon Rennie helped him rediscover his speed, with the Australian having worked with Rennie in Red Bull’s simulator.
Ricciardo was reunited with Rennie when he returned to Red Bull this season as their development driver, as his former engineer was responsible for “running the sim”.
Returning to Red Bull has ultimately been key to Ricciardo getting back on the grid at AlphaTauri for the remainder of 2023, after the Austrians loaned the Aussie to the Faenza-based side to replace Nyck de Vries.
In his two starts this year for AlphaTauri, Ricciardo has looked strong on the whole, with him having the goal of racing for Red Bull once again.
Getting back on the grid hasn’t been easy for the 34-year-old though, who appears to have gained in confidence since working in the simulator at Red Bull.
His initial laps in the sim were a concern for the Aussie though, who recognised that “time had passed”.
“When I first drove the sim, I could see it now that a bit of time had passed. And, you know, obviously, I haven’t been in a race seat for a few months,” Ricciardo told the media, including RacingNews365.com.
“I could kind of see myself last year, as an example, that was lacking. And I knew it at the time, but you know, you see things a bit more clearly, probably, with hindsight as well.
“I was just kind of lacking a little bit of that confidence and that just kind of going out there and just driving, in simple terms. You just get probably other thoughts that creep into your mind.”
Thankfully, through working in the sim and with the likes of Rennie, Ricciardo has rediscovered his confidence and is already challenging team-mate Yuki Tsunoda, despite sitting on the bench for seven months.
Going back to Red Bull has been exactly what Ricciardo needed, despite some having criticised the move in the first place.
“Going back into Red Bull it was exciting for me, but I was also a little bit nervously excited. So probably just that comfort or confidence in those first few runs on the sim,” Ricciardo added.
“It took a little bit to probably just shake a few things out and try to just find my old self again. I think what helped a lot was working with Simon Rennie, my engineer at Red Bull back when I was racing there. He’s been running the sim.
“I think that as well, kind of getting a bit of familiarity, working with him, kind of quickly got my confidence back. And obviously you look at the data and try to learn from Max and Checo who are very familiar with that car.”