Australian F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo may have found his next seat – or saddle, to be specific.
Most important points:
- Daniel Ricciardo rode a horse into the pit lane of the US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas
- The Australian is without a seat for the 2023 F1 season, despite improved form
- Questions are still being raised about what penalty Red Bull will face for violating their salary cap
As the Western Australian continues his search for a new team into the 2023 season, Ricciardo entered the pit lane on horseback ahead of the US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.
“Biggest paddock entrance yet,” McLaren tweeted, posting photos and a video clip of the Australian dressed in cowboy attire with a Stars and Stripes jacket.
Country singer Rob Baird walked alongside Ricciardo, strummed a guitar and sang his 2012 song Dreams and Gasoline.
According to a cord around the horse’s neck, it was called Horsey McHorseface.
The F1 veteran – who is known for celebrating podium finishes by drinking champagne from his shoe – is a big fan of all things American and usually spends the off season in the US.
“The extra energy I get from the atmosphere is immeasurable and I love everything about it. From the crowd to the food to the music. It’s like nothing else,” said Ricciardo. “I can’t wait to get back on track.”
With eight Grand Prix wins since 2011, Ricciardo is the 39th most successful driver in F1 history, but he may be on the brink of retiring for at least a year.
He ends his stint at McLaren a year earlier and will remain without a seat in F1 in 2023.
Ricciardo has only scored 29 points this season, while team-mate Lando Norris has had a stellar year, with 101 points so far.
However, Ricciardo has found some form in the past two races.
Meanwhile, questions are still circling Red Bull and their situation regarding the salary cap violation.
Max Verstappen has already been crowned champion, in one of the most dominant seasons in Formula 1 history, as his team moves towards the constructors’ title.
While Verstappen is chasing a record-binding 13th win this season as a two-time champion, rival teams and drivers say F1 must find a way to penalize Red Bull for violating critical salary cap rules that are expected to reinstate. in the teams that spend a lot and level the playing field from the front of the grid to the back.
While the series’ governing body has called the 2021 spending breach “minor,” it could still result in a multi-million dollar fine.
The FIA has not yet announced any sanctions, nor has it disclosed how much money Red Bull has overspent.
What the FIA decides to do will be considered a major test for first-year president Mohammed Ben Sulayem’s leadership
A spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for an update, nor whether the FIA will announce anything before the end of the season.
Red Bull’s rivals want action.
McLaren team principal Zak Brown called every spending violation a fraud.
Ferrari – the series’ largest legacy team and Red Bull’s closest rival for the championship this year – has called for “maximum penalties” for overspending.
They have also argued that any undue boost in car development has not just one season, but multiple consequences, as teams find themselves in a constant arms race for the future.
Possible penalties for minor overruns range from a reprimand to reduced budgets or even deductions from driver and team championship points.
Few, however, think the FIA would do anything as harsh as take Verstappen’s title in 2021, nor reopen this season’s championship.