Red Bull reveal how Daniel Ricciardo helps Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez

Daniel Ricciardo is gunning for Sergio Perez's Red Bull seat following his return to AlphaTauri.

In a recent episode of the Talking Bull podcast, Ben Waterhouse, the Red Bull chief of performance engineering, shed light on the vital role played by Daniel Ricciardo within the team. 

Waterhouse explained how Ricciardo’s driving style falls somewhere between that of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, making him an invaluable asset in optimising car setups for the two star drivers.

Waterhouse emphasised the significance of driver feedback in the performance engineering process, stating that it is a crucial element in achieving a harmonious relationship between the driver and the machine. 

He stressed that the ultimate goal is to ensure that the driver feels comfortable and confident in the car, especially considering the high speeds at which modern Formula 1 cars race.

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“It’s about ultimately it’s the marriage of the driver and the machine,” Waterhouse explained. 

“You need to have them in unison such that the driver feels comfortable in the car, and because these cars are so quick it’s so important that the driver is confident and in fear with the car.

“So we have to make sure that the two are compatible and the setup will then evolve to suit the driver’s characteristics and their driving style.”

Waterhouse went on to reveal how Daniel Ricciardo’s unique position within the team allows him to contribute significantly during simulation sessions. 

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The Australian driver possesses valuable insights into the preferences and requirements of Red Bull’s drivers when it comes to car setups.

“So, we know that the two drivers drive a little bit differently and Daniel sits somewhere in the middle, but we’re in a position where we have enough data and enough knowledge that we can start to drive the setup for one driver in one direction and slightly different for the other,” Waterhouse stated. 

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“Daniel’s wise enough to be able to go, ‘OK, I know what Max will need, I know what Checo will need.'”

Ricciardo’s ability to understand the driving styles of both Verstappen and Perez allows the team to fine-tune the car setups for each driver individually, optimising their performance on the track. 

This unique perspective has proven invaluable for Red Bull in their quest for success in the intensely competitive world of Formula 1.