Horner taunts Brown about Ricciardo: “He looked skinny, picked up habits”

Christian Horner told Zak Brown “I don’t know what you guys did to him” when discussing how Daniel Ricciardo has been rebuilt at Red Bull.
Horner taunts Brown about Ricciardo: “He looked skinny, picked up habits”

Popular veteran Ricciardo is back at the F1 Australian Grand Prix, his home race, but is absent from the grid and is instead a third driver for Red Bull.

He was let go by McLaren last season, a year before his contract was due to expire, after two underwhelming years.

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Red Bull team principal Horner, sat next to McLaren CEO Brown, told him: “We had to feed him up, I don’t know what you guys did to him! 

“He looked skinny. He looks healthier now. He’s training hard and ready to go, given a chance.”

Asked how much preparation Ricciardo might need to return to an F1 car, Horner said: “He’s 10 minutes away from being ready. He’s in good shape, he has kept fit and well.”

Horner addressed Ricciardo’s spell at McLaren: “When you drive a car that has its limitations, you adapt and adjust to extract the maximum out of the car.

“It was clear when he came back that he had picked up some habits that we didn’t recognise from the Daniel that left us years earlier.

“He’s had a chance to re-set, got into the 2023 work, he’s hit the ground running and he likes the feel of the car in the virtual world, which correlates well with what we’re seeing i the actual world.

“He’s desperate for a run in the car to validate that.

“He’s getting back to being the Daniel we know.”

Horner taunts Brown about Ricciardo: “He looked skinny, picked up habits”

Ricciardo’s axing from McLaren last season, where he was constantly behind teammate Lando Norris, featured heavily in Netflix’s Drive To Survive.

Brown’s decision-making was a dramatised theme in the show.

“I’m thrilled he’s here,” Brown now says. “We’re all Daniel fans, he lights up a room.

“I don’t think we know, or he knows, why it didn’t click. Sometimes drivers needs to be charged with batteries - Fernando Alonso and Alain Prost did.

“Hopefully Daniel will get a chance to win his ninth grand prix and many more, we’d all like to see him back on a regular basis.”

Horner said about Ricciardo’s role in Melbourne this weekend: “It’s great to have him back in blue. He’s really throwing himself into it, sitting in all the briefings and working hard on the simulators.

“Daniel is a positive energy, it’s great to see him getting his mojo back. He lights up a room.

“He’s not driving but he’s probably the most popular driver here.

“It must be tough for him, not being a race driver this weekend. But he has embraced this new role.”

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