Race engineer, Simon Rennie has echoed Christian Horner's claim that on returning to the Red Bull family this year, Daniel Ricciardo was different to the man who had left the team in 2018.
"It was clear when he came back that he had picked up some habits that we didn't recognise as the Daniel that had left us two or three years earlier," said Horner at the beginning of the season following the Australian's return to Red Bull as reserve driver.
Speaking on the Talking Bull podcast, Ricciardo's former race engineer at Red Bull, Simon Rennie shed more light on the change the Australian had undergone in his time since leaving the team for Renault and then McLaren.
Talking about his return to Red Bull, Ricciardo said: "The first thing I did in 2023 was a couple sim sessions, and that was, for sure, just for me to get back in the groove, to learn the car, but just kind of get back into my flow."
However, at this point Rennie interrupted.
"I don't think that was as easy as you thought it was going to be," said the Briton. "When he first came back I was quite surprised.
"Knowing Daniel, when he came back, I didn't say this at the time, that he was almost like... you're definitely not as confident as I know you are, and you were just a little bit hollow in a way.
"It felt like you were doubting yourself a little, and you were," he added. "You were a bit concerned about whether you could do it again, because obviously you'd had good success with us, and you've had the last couple years haven't been quite successful.
"It didn't necessarily click straightaway in the simulator," he continued. "It took you that first day that we did together, I don't know if you left with a good feeling or not after that first day, you still seemed a little bit unsure of it all.
"And then you went away, had a bit of time off at home, and then next time you're in, it's like you were a bit more bouncy. Maybe you had more time to think about it, you were a bit more like, say, halfway back to being yourself.
"Then we had a good day in the simulator and I think you just drove it naturally, like you wanted to do, and it just sort of clicked a little bit. The confidence from then snowballed and you built, and built, and built, and then by the end of that day, or the next day, you felt like, ‘yeah, he's back again'.
"But it was really mad, the first time we saw him again, you were a bit subdued. It's nice to see him back."