This is why Max Verstappen is delighted to have Daniel Ricciardo back

Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo were team-mates at Red Bull from the 2016 Spanish GP until the end of the 2018 season.

Double World Champion Max Verstappen has revealed that he’s “very happy” to see former team-mate Daniel Ricciardo return to Red Bull for 2023, with the Dutchman expecting the Austrians to “rely” on the 33-year-old’s “experience”.

Verstappen and Ricciardo know each other incredibly well, with the duo having raced alongside each other at the Milton Keynes-based team from the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix until the end of the 2018 season.

Ricciardo, of course, left Red Bull at the end of 2018 to move to Renault, before switching to McLaren for the 2021 and 2022 seasons.

The Aussie has returned ‘home’ for 2023, though, with the eight-time race winner set to be incredibly important for the side in his development driver role.

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“I think his smile, his attitude, he has always been a professional and a super nice guy to work with as well, as a team-mate, but also for the whole team,” Verstappen said at the launch of the RB19 last Friday.

“Also, for the people back at the factory, working on the simulator will rely on his experience.

“He has raced in Formula 1 for a very long time, he is a race winner so we are very happy to have him on board, that is for sure.”

Ricciardo’s year-off from racing is set to be spent mainly in Red Bull’s simulator with some testing alongside it, with a whole heap of marketing campaigns also likely to include the Aussie, given his popularity.

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How Ricciardo’s performance will be judged is somewhat of an unknown; however, if he does take part in any tyre tests then that could be where Ricciardo is viewed by other teams for a potential seat in 2024.

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“So mainly from the driving point of view, simulator will be the main thing I will do,” Ricciardo said in an interview on US TV, when asked about his role for 2023.

“Not confirmed, so I am not sure if it will happen, but I know there are some tyre tests so I would say if I am to drive this year’s car, that is more likely than FP1s.

“So potentially some tyre tests, there is maybe a couple in the middle of the year so that is something that could be there but mainly, the sim work is the driving stuff for now.”