Daniel Ricciardo explains helmet message at Monaco F1 Grand Prix, McLaren results

Daniel Ricciardo denied there was anything untoward about a message on his protective equipment during a rough weekend in Monaco.

Daniel Ricciardo has clarified the three-letter message on his helmet during the Monaco Grand Prix, denying there was anyone specific in mind when he added the acronym to his protective equipment.

“FEA” — standing for “f*** em all” — was scribbled on the back of Ricciardo’s helmet last weekend, a move the Aussie said he made to get himself pumped up.

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“I put it on my helmet in 2018 as well,” Ricciardo said.

“I like to use acronyms to pump me up. It’s honestly not directed at anyone, it’s something that I’ve said for a few years and it just kind of gets me in my happy place.

“I think as well, as a driver, you put the helmet on and that’s also very significant of flipping the switch. It’s one of the last things I’ll see when I put the helmet on.

“So it reminds me to channel in and get into the zone.”

Ricciardo finished a disappointing 13th in Monaco, continuing a rough second season with McLaren. The 32-year-old struggled to adjust to his new car last year and finished eighth in the drivers’ standings, two spots below teammate Lando Norris.

There have been precious few signs of improvement in 2022, apart from a sixth-placed finish at his home grand prix in Melbourne. His next best result after that was 12th at the Spanish Grand Prix — where he dropped from ninth on the grid.

Speaking after Monaco, McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl opened up on RIcciardo’s troubles.

“In general, Daniel says it himself, he still doesn‘t feel 100 per cent with the car, especially when it’s about pushing it to the absolute limit in qualifying,” Seidl said. “He’s up against a very strong teammate as well, with Lando, and if you put both things together, that’s the gap we are sometimes seeing.

“All we can do, together with Daniel, with a commitment on both sides, is to simply keep working hard in order to find these last percentages.”

Seidl added Ricciardo will spend more time in the simulator to help get his campaign on track at the next race in Baku later this month.

“It’s simply important as always to stay calm and focused and committed on both sides, which Daniel is, which we are,” Seidl said.

“We will do some simulator work as well before we head to Baku and then hopefully we can make another small step these next races in order to get Daniel to be 100 per cent feeling comfortable with the car — especially when it comes to qualifying, when you have to push it to the absolute limit.”

Last week McLaren boss Zak Brown declared Norris has a clear “edge” over his teammate, saying Ricciardo hasn’t met expectations since joining the outfit from Renault.

Ricciardo is contracted with McLaren until the end of 2023 but Brown recently hinted at a get-out clause that could see the Honey Badger cut loose early if poor results continue.

Former F1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve said after another grim weekend in Monaco McLaren will look to move on without Ricciardo.

“Daniel Ricciardo’s time at McLaren is over,” Villeneuve wrote in his exclusive column for Formule1.nl.

“CEO Zak Brown is now saying that there are clauses in his contract, and that means that a decision has almost been made. It’s a way to put the pressure on the driver and prepare the media.

“Ultimately, he has been a highly-paid driver who has cost the team a lot of money. He doesn’t bring in any points and he doesn’t have the speed the team needs to develop the car. So he’s just costing them money.

“It would be cheaper for them to continue paying Ricciardo’s salary, let him sit on the couch at home and put another driver in the car. It’s a harsh reality, but that’s Formula 1.”

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