The simulator session that reinvigorated Ricciardo
By Mat Coch
Wednesday 12th April, 2023 - 6:00am
Daniel Ricciardo has revealed how an early season simulator session at Red Bull began to light the fire within him once more.
The Australian stepped away from competition this year after two difficult years with McLaren.
He’s joined Red Bull as third driver, supporting Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez while performing marketing duties for the team.
It’s a role he took on to remain connected and involved with F1 as he assessed whether he was ready to move on, or if he still had the hunger to compete.
While still in the process of making that decision, he has admitted he’s leaning towards chasing an F1 return.
That comes after his first appearance at a race in his new role at the Australian GP earlier this month.
Prior to that, he spent time in Red Bull’s simulator in Milton Keynes.
It proved to be something of a revelation.
“So my first day on the simulator with Red Bull this year, it was honestly probably the most fun simulator session I’ve ever had,” Ricciardo told an exclusive group of media, including Speedcafe.
“I think, because I hadn’t driven really in close to three months, it was all like new and exciting.
“And I was back in an environment which has obviously got a lot of fond memories from.
“I felt it in the room. Simon, who was my engineer back in the day, was running the session with me and we just kind of giggled. We had such a good day.
“Because the sim, it certainly feels like work, it has become work, especially as a racecar driver – you get in to your work and you get out.
“But I remember I would do a session and someone’s ‘Oh, we can call it if you’ve had enough laps’.
“And I’m like, ‘nah, one more lap’. Across the line, I’ll do a bit better, ‘one more lap!’.
“So we kept kind of joking that it was hard to pull me out.
“That was a little bit rare because I did definitely, the older I got as well, the more I just wanted to race and didn’t care so much about going to do a test or anything.
“You know, the real enjoyment was from competition.
“So, for me to enjoy like the simulator like that meant that it was good to miss it for a little while.
“And being back in that environment is better than I thought it would be.”
That session helped rebuild some of the confidence he lost during his time at McLaren.
It was also another indicator of his desire to compete once more.
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