Hips don't slide: Ricciardo explains early struggle to fit into 2021 McLaren


Daniel Ricciardo says trouble fitting into new cars is a common theme after struggling to get into the MCL35M

Daniel Ricciardo 2021

Daniel has highlighted the difficulty he faces getting into all his new F1 cars


Nigel Mansell struggled to get into the 1995 McLaren, George Russell found his feet were too big for the Mercedes W10 and now Daniel Ricciardo has revealed what was causing him trouble getting comfortable into his new MCL35M.

A recent McLaren ‘Unboxed’ video showed the incumbent Australian struggling to get comfortable in the new car, and he was quizzed about it at the MCL35M’s launch.

Describing his hips as the “limiting factor”, Ricciardo said the tight packaging of the MCL35M has made squeezing into the car trickier than ever.

“It’s pretty normal,” he said when asked how frequent a problem this was for him with new F1 cars.

“I do have wide hips. I’m pretty thick boned, I guess – but I got in!

“It was the first mock-up of a seat, and with the dimensions they had, and assumed what would be okay for me, wasn’t quite okay.

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“Fortunately, it was just the seat. It wasn’t the actual kind of keel itself which is too narrow. So since then I have been able to get in a seat, and I do fit.”

However Ricciardo, who also revealed his new McLaren deal is for three years, believes his dimensions are maxing out the packaging solutions of modern F1 cars.

“I feel like I’m certainly the limit. You know, I think the way they design the cars and the chassis now, everything’s trying to be as tight and compact as possible. So really, my hips are sometimes the limiting factor.

“I said ‘Make sure I’m comfortable, and if you think that loses you a tenth, I’ll just drive faster!’”

“I just tell them: ‘Make sure I’m comfortable, and if you think that loses you a tenth of aerodynamics, then I’ll just drive faster on track!’”

Ricciardo moved from the literal to the lateral when describing how he was trying to find his place – metaphorically speaking – in the team.

“I think fitting in, in terms of feeling like you’re part of the team,” he replied when asked what was most difficult to adapt to in McLaren.

“Being integrated, not only into the driving side, but into the engineering side and the strategy.

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“It’s kind of like feeling like you’re sitting in the room with a voice and with enough knowledge that what you say will be taken on board.

“I think that integration into all areas of the race team, that’s probably got a lot more power than just being the driver and only the driver.

“That’s probably the most important, but it also the most difficult thing to get going.”

Ricciardo also spoke about the experience of having such a young yet well-regarded team-mate in Lando Norris, bringing his usual light to the subject.

“So obviously, reserve driver with Lando, I think he’ll bring a lot to the team…sorry, trying be funny!” he quipped.

“I feel like I’m stepping back into what happened with [Sebastien] Ocon and with Max [Verstappen]. I’m the old guy now,” he said, on a slightly more serious note.

“I’ll certainly look to Lando and learn from him with the team. It’s his third year with McLaren now. So I think certainly in testing, we only get three days total.

“So the days I’m out of the car, I’ll certainly be listening closely and trying to learn as much as I can.”