Daniel Ricciardo has returned to the cockpit of a current Red Bull Formula 1 car for the first time since he left the team five years ago.
Ricciardo was a product of Red Bull’s Junior Team and raced for Toro Rosso (now AlphaTauri) before his promotion to the senior team in 2014. After leaving them he spent two years at Renault and a further two at McLaren.
His return to Red Bull as a reserve and test driver this year came about after McLaren cut short his three-year deal to drive for them following two largely disappointing seasons. Ricciardo’s first run in the team’s dominant RB19 will complement his ongoing work in the team’s simulator.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner is keen to evaluate his former driver’s performance following his return.
“It’s an important test for Pirelli but it’s also going to be great to see him back in a Red Bull car and seeing where he’s at both on pace and mentally, physically and to get his feedback on this car as well. It’s a good opportunity for him to get back behind the wheel of a car that’s just won the British Grand Prix.”
While Max Verstappen is enjoying a dominant run in the team’s RB19 and has won the last six races in a row, team mate Sergio Perez is enduring a poor run. He hasn’t qualified inside the top 10 for any of the last five grands prix.
Perez is contracted to drive for the team until the end of next year and Horner dismissed speculation Ricciardo is being lined up for a full-time drive.
“It’s not something that we’re planning, that’s for certain,” he said. “It was right to give him the opportunity this year to remain within the team and keep him around the sport, I think it would have been a loss to the sport for him just to disappear. I didn’t recognise the Daniel of the last couple of years. So I’ll be very interested to see what kind of job he does on Tuesday.”
Nico Hulkenberg is also partincipating in the Pirelli tyre test. The Haas driver finished 13th in last weekend’s British GP.
Pictures: Red Bull’s Pirelli test with Ricciardo
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