F1

Ricciardo’s awkward struggle in new McLaren car: ‘It wasn’t OK’

The excitement was palpable among driver and team as Daniel Ricciardo sat in the new McLaren MCL35M Formula One car for the first time — but things quickly turned awkward.

Ricciardo’s attempt to get comfortable in his new ride ahead of the 2021 season hit an immediate hitch as he struggled to even fit in the seat.

RELATED: All the latest on Daniel Ricciardo’s move to McLaren

The Aussie’s hips were the problem, preventing him from sitting properly in a chassis that has become tighter than ever.

“It’s pretty normal,” the former Red Bull and Renault driver said, when asked if it was a frequent problem with new 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.

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

https://www.instagram.com/p/CLXcd1hlBxL/

A post shared by Daniel Ricciardo (@danielricciardo)

Ricciardo believes his body dimensions are maxing out the packaging solutions for 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,” he said.

“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!’”

The adjustments were made in time for the team’s launch in the UK this week and Ricciardo was able to drive his first laps in a McLaren.

Here we go. 🙌@danielricciardo heads out for his first laps in a McLaren. #SendIt pic.twitter.com/fLrfvfb2Um

Ricciardo said his fit in the team was also a work in progress.

“Being integrated, not only into the driving side, but into the engineering side and the strategy (is the biggest change),” he said.

“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 has also unveiled a new helmet with an important message for the upcoming season.

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