Formula 1 Racing

No happy ending for Ricciardo’s made-for-Netflix redemption arc · RaceFans

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Yas Marina, 2018

If anyone felt the pain of Daniel Ricciardo’s early ejection from McLaren as much as the man himself, it was surely the producers of Drive to Survive.

The wise-cracker with the mile-wide grin was a show favourite literally from the start of Netflix’s F1 series. Ricciardo got the full hero treatment as season one cast a sympathetic light on his career-defining decision to leave Red Bull, the team which brought him into Formula 1 and made him a grand prix winner.

Five years on from that decision, Ricciardo faced the agony of the 2023 season starting without him. But his departure from McLaren also opened up a route back to a team he surely now regretted leaving in the first place.

Red Bull pounced on the opportunity to re-hire Ricciardo as a third driver. Team principal Christian Horner was quick to claim Ricciardo’s slump in form was because their rivals had failed to get the best out of him.

Ricciardo left Red Bull at the end of 2018

“I think the problem is when you drive a car that obviously has its limitation you adapt and you try and adjust to extract the maximum out of that car,” said Horner early last year. “It was clear when he came back that he picked up some habits that we didn’t recognise as the Daniel that had left us two or three years earlier.”

Meanwhile Nyck de Vries’ indifferent start at Red Bull’s second team (known as AlphaTauri at the time, now RB) offered a justification to put Ricciardo back in a race seat. Again, Red Bull moved quickly: Ricciardo was chosen to conduct a Pirelli tyre test at Silverstone and naturally the Netflix cameras were present to capture Horner beaming over his performance, telling him “you’ve got your mojo back” and confirming his return in place of de Vries.

The Drive to Survive producers could hardly have dared hope for a more perfectly scripted redemption arc, particularly as the 2023 championship offered so little on-track drama. Ricciardo’s story was given a prominent billing in the latest season where it appeared as the second episode.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Ricciardo’s return prompted immediate speculation over the future of his latest successor at Red Bull, Sergio Perez, whose form had slumped. At the preceding race Perez failed to reach Q3 for the fifth race in a row, recording the worst five-race streak of qualifying performances for a Red Bull driver for 16 years – this in a car which by the end of the season was the most…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at RaceFans…