Christian Horner feels that having Daniel Ricciardo back in the Red Bull garage at the Australian Grand Prix had a positive impact on the team.
The 33-year-old made his first race weekend appearance in 2023 in his new role as a reserve driver for the squad and – while he didn't get behind the wheel – was a visible presence throughout the event.
He also joined teammates Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez for an entertaining quiz.
Horner was pleased with Ricciardo's contribution to the team during the weekend.
Horner: Ricciardo throwing himself into new role
"It's great to have him back in blue and be back in the team," Horner told media, including RacingNews365.com.
"This is the first Grand Prix he’s attending this year, and he's really throwing himself into it. Sitting in all the briefings, he's been working hard on the simulator as well in the UK doing some race support and some development work on that.
"And Daniel's just a positive energy to have around and it's great to see him getting his mojo back, to see that big smile on his face, and he lights up a room when he walks in.
"His popularity in Formula 1, even though he's not driving, he's still probably the most popular driver here."
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'Positive' for Red Bull to have Ricciardo back
Horner believes that Ricciardo's presence has been positive for Red Bull, and hopes that the experience will continue to help the Australian to find his love for the sport again.
"For us, it’s just positive to have him in the team, contributing to the team, to the drivers, to the engineering team," Horner said.
"And hopefully, he'll rediscover his love for the sport. He'll do a bit of testing for us later in the year and we'll see how that how that goes for him.
"But I think it's a different experience. It must be very tough for him not being a race driver this weekend, but he's thrown himself and embracing this new role."
Ricciardo previously raced for Red Bull between 2014 and 2018. This was followed by a two-year stint at Renault before his switch to McLaren in 2021.
The eight-time race winner's contract with McLaren was terminated early, leaving him without a seat on the grid in 2023.
Balve Baines is joined by RacingNews365.com Editorial Director Dieter Rencken and Asia Correspondent Michael Butterworth to dissect the key talking points from the Australian Grand Prix.