Ricciardo: “Determined” and “driven” Mekies is giving “fresh energy” to RB F1 squad

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“Even for a driver of my experience, it’s still really nice to do testing.”

This is how Daniel Ricciardo responded when referring to the end of testing in Bahrain ahead of the start of the 2024 Formula 1 season.

The Perth born driver admits pre-season testing has been an ideal opportunity for new employees to bed in and allow everyone to familiarise themselves with each other, such as Alan Permane and Tim Goss.

“I mean, we do have a lot of new personnel in the team as well this year. So, even just getting to work with each other before a race weekend it’s important, because once you start racing, you don’t really have that quality of time together.

“It’s just ‘next session, next session, race, airplane, next race’.”

The “honey badger” was a reserve driver at Red Bull Racing when he was announced to return to the sport following his departure from McLaren at the end of 2022, as a replacement for Nyck de Vries at AlphaTauri from Hungary onwards.

He showed himself optimistic and eager to demonstrate the team’s potential to achieve good results this year.

“I’m happy to be back here for a full season. And I think we will do some — hopefully — great things.

“Let’s start with good things but at some point — hopefully — great things,” the 34-year-old expressed in his usual positive manner.

Taking the reins of the team after Franz Tost decided to step aside and retire after 18 years of leading the team, Laurent Mekies assumed the role of Team Principal at the beginning of this year.

Ricciardo was also questioned about the leadership the Frenchman seeks to start this new stage in the renamed Visa Cash App RB team. The pair previously worked together at Faenza when it was called Toro Rosso — Mekies was Head of Vehicle Performance at the time.

The 8-time Grand Prix winner has been impressed at what the Frenchman is bringing to the squad.

“Laurent’s been really good. Sometimes you just need fresh eyes, or a fresh perspective, or fresh energy, and I think he’s really bringing that.

“He brings a very kind of determined, driven approach, but also an open door policy. So any comments, criticism, feedback, anything, he’s open for.

“And I think he’s maintained the right level of […] I don’t know what the word is, but I think he’s approached the team with the right mentality.

“I worked with him 10 years ago and it’s nice to work with him again.”

Photo Credit: Red Bull Content Pool