Ricciardo on equality, hips and taxes

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The Telegraph’s Tom Cary caught up with Toro Rosso driver Daniel Ricciardo this week and revealed that the driver feels he’s in good form and ready to take on the big boys should he land a seat at Red Bull Racing in 2014. That is if his bum fits in the Adrian Newey designed car.

As Cary found out, Ricciardo comes from a long line of wide-hip Australians and he’s had to have a few modifications to get his backside to fit in a Formula 1 car. I don’t find that humorous at all because recently I slipped into a Ferrari simulator and at 6’3” and 220lbs, I was like a sardine in that thing! I needed a shoehorn and Vaseline to get me in and out of the cockpit. I feel for Danny.

“I’ve got wide hips. It’s not my a*** per se. I guess it’s genetic,” Ricciardo explained.

“Even when I signed for Toro Rosso we had to do a few seat fits and they did some scans to make that particular part of the cockpit a bit wider, so that we’re not sitting on the actual carbon fibre.

“But yeah, I’ve heard that Adrian does like to build small race cars. I can’t do much about it. Even if I go on a massive diet my hip bones aren’t going to change.”

Ricciardo also revealed that he’s moved house to Monaco, like so many F1 drivers before him who sought a tax haven for the millions they make, but it does differ from his fellow countryman and man he wants to replace, Mark Webber, who figured living in the UK and paying taxes was the least he could do. Taxes you say? Why that’s not the reason he’s moving:

“Oh OK, I’ll just come out and say it: I moved to Monaco last week! There. I wasn’t going to advertise it, but yes, I’m out of Milton Keynes now.

“To be honest, the weather and the ocean was a bigger factor than the tax. Not having a real summer, that was the biggest thing. I’ve been here [in the UK] for five years now and 4½ of those were great. Then there are the financial benefits, of course, although they probably don’t help me now. I’m not really earning enough to justify it.”

He does have a point, as he’s not the highest paid driver on the grid but perhaps a preemptive move ahead of a pay increase? Such as a Red Bull ride for 2014? Lewis Hamilton took some heat for his move to Monaco a few years ago but most drivers do move to favorable locations that tax less of their earnings.

Cary did ask Rcciardo the biting question of team orders, Multi 21 and the friction between his outgoing countryman and world champion Sebastian Vettel. Ricciardo took the high road on the issue but did suggest this:

“From what I hear the team is very much interested in equality.”

Some are more equal than other in F1 and that’s perfectly clear but what wisdom can he gain from his fellow Aussie? Ricciardo isn’t too keen to chase after Webber to find out. Daniel would rather gain his own perspective and enter the opportunity without the baggae and I think that’s the best way to approach the situation.

Webber’s issues have been fashioned over years of driving for the team. His challenges with Vettel are his own and Rcciardo will have to find his own place and warrant his own respect from within the team. It takes time.

Ricciardo told Cary that he feels he can run with Vettel and if he can’t, he’d like to at least say he tried. It’s the hottest seat in F1 and there is no doubt many drivers would like to say they tried but is that enough? This is a three-time world championship winning team after all.

Kudos to Tom Cary for a nice interview.

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