Red Bull boss explains Ricciardo’s ‘bad habits’

Red Bull boss explains Ricciardo's 'bad habits'

Red Bull boss Christian Horner has provided an outlook on the negative habits the Milton Keynes squad found out after Daniel Ricciardo joined them.

After two challenging seasons at McLaren, Daniel Ricciardo rejoined Red Bull as the third driver, after he previously went on to win seven of his eight Grands Prix for the team before moving to McLaren.

Ricciardo’s role after joining Red Bull entailed spending time with Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez on the Red Bull simulator, as well as taking part in a Pirelli tyre test after the British Grand Prix.

The Australian showed he was prepared to return to racing at Silverstone, earning the approval of Christian Horner and Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko to drive for Scuderia AlphaTauri at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

However, Horner revealed Ricciardo was very different from the driver who had left the team for Renault at the conclusion of 2018 during his drive for the Pirelli tyre test.

“I think he picked up a lot of bad habits,” Horner talked about Ricciardo’s form upon his return. “It took some of his old engineering team to unpick some of those and very quickly, in a virtual world, got back to where we expected and on par with what we were used to.

“Then, we just wanted to verify that in the real world and the tyre test provided that opportunity.”

It is generally known that Ricciardo struggled with McLaren because his natural driving style was not compatible with the complexity of what the McLaren challengers required to perform at their peak.

As he continued to struggle, the Australian had to exert more effort to change his driving inputs—something that was not instinctual to him.

Ricciardo’s first simulator session for the team at the beginning of the year produced a Ricciardo that Horner and Red Bull weren’t familiar with.

“I think the problem is that when you’re driving cars that are difficult, it’s sometimes a compromise to get the most out of them,” Horner reasoned. “I mean, his whole braking technique had changed dramatically from the technique that we were accustomed to.

“He was trying to put a sticking plaster on a weakness of the car to get it to rotate.

“I think once we don’t pick that then you saw everything starts to become more natural.”

Ricciardo continued to be active while out of the Formula 1 spotlight. He swiftly resumed training after taking a little break, with Horner claiming that he is now physically in better shape than he was a year earlier.

“He’s in great shape,” the Red Bull boss added. “He’s always taking care of himself.

“If anything, when he came back, he looked like he hadn’t eaten for three months. But he’s in good shape.

“He did well over 100 laps, I think at Silverstone, which is a demanding physical circuit and then to jump in at Hungary, one of the most demanding tracks on the calendar and put in a stint like he did on the medium tyre, was hugely impressive.”

Ricciardo placed an encouraging 11th at the Hungarian Grand Prix and learned a lot during the more challenging Belgian Grand Prix a week later as Horner said of Ricciardo’s qualifying performance as unlucky and he should have been in the top 10.

The Dutch Grand Prix will mark the start of Formula 1 after a summer break from August 25–27.

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