Max Verstappen will perhaps be very pleased by his side’s most recent signing, given his relationship to the person it concerns.
It was officially announced after the season finale in Abu Dhabi, which Verstappen unsurprisingly won, that former Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo would be returning to the Austrians as a development driver.
Whilst the role won’t see Ricciardo racing for the team, it will see the Honey Badger back amongst an environment which he thrived in from 2014-2018.
The duo seemingly remain very good friends, despite Ricciardo’s time at Red Bull having come to a somewhat frosty end in 2018.
It became very clear that the Austrians were going to prioritise Verstappen over the Australian, something which he could evidently see.
As is well known, Riccardo switched to Renault for two years before going to McLaren for 2021 and 2022, a four-year spell that the 33-year-old won’t be celebrating fondly.
Excluding his win at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, Ricciardo failed to perform at both teams, with Red Bull well and truly being the place where the Aussie was at his best.
With this in mind, Verstappen has revealed that he believes Ricciardo shouldn’t have left the team in 2018, with staying at Red Bull having been a “better” option.
“It would have been better for Daniel if he had stayed longer at Red Bull at the time,” Verstappen told Formule1.nl.
“I did talk to him about it. It’s also about feeling comfortable somewhere. That was no longer the case at one point.
“Then you have to look at alternatives and make the trade-off between sporting success and feeling good somewhere.
“However, I do know everyone at Red Bull had his best interests at heart. Instead of leaving, he could have talked to the team about it. But it turned out the way it did.”
How long Ricciardo is back at Red Bull for remains to be seen, with the fan favourite determined to return to full-time racing in 2024.
His recent performances could make this challenging, with Verstappen admitting that “you are only as good as your last race”.
“Now Daniel will be reserve driver with us, we don’t have to start missing his character in Formula 1,” Verstappen added.
“Daniel comes across well and laughs a lot but, in the end, it’s not about the laughs it’s about the performances.
“Daniel has certainly delivered those in the past, but in F1 the rule is that you are only as good as your last race.”