Daniel Ricciardo to play ‘key’ Red Bull role in Max Verstappen push

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Christian Horner claims the Australian will be vital behind the scenes as he supports Verstappen and Sergio Perez from the garage. The Red Bull boss claimed that with Ricciardo’s acquisition the team now had the “strongest” line-up on the grid.

“Obviously with tyre testing he will get a bit of running in the car and be looking to support the two race drivers with the experience that he has. So it’s great for us to have that in-house in the team.”

Ricciardo signed up as the team’s reserve driver after he was ditched by McLaren last season. The 33-year-old secured seven victories with the constructor before he left the team for Renault at the end of 2018. 

He struggled at McLaren last season, being beaten by team-mate Lando Norris on 17 occasions. Ricciardo has previously admitted he was still eyeing a race return for 2024 but has since accepted his Red Bull contract has no clauses on a promotion. 

He has also said Red Bull were an attractive proposition to allow him time away from the racetrack after a difficult couple of season. Ricciardo explained: “On race weekends I’ll listen in and have access to all the communications and staying close with all the engineers and being on channels with them. 

“Just trying to figure out what trends we are starting to see because even if they are winning every race, no car is perfect. 

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“You are always trying to chase something so try and kind of understand the direction they want the car to go in and develop. If I have an idea or something maybe I have learned in the last few years racing with other teams perhaps.

“I’ll try and lend some guidance or advice or something for me to test in the simulator and try to give feedback if it’s positive.”

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