Daniel Ricciardo says his “wide hips” place him at the limit of the width of current Formula 1 cockpits, but he now fits into this year’s McLaren after struggling early on.
The former Renault driver, who signed a three-year contract with McLaren, found an early seat mockup to be slightly too narrow and adjustments had to be made before his first race in the 2021 MCL35M on a day of filming at Silverstone earlier today. week.
Asked about the progress since the first delicate seat adjustment, the Australian says his hips – which often gave him headaches inside the ultra-tight Red Bull cockpits he frequented between 2014 and 2018 – must always be taken into account.
“I have wide hips – I guess. I’m pretty thick,” Ricciardo said.
“But I walked in, so that was sort of the first mockup of the seat. And with the dimensions they had, they kind of assumed what would be good for me. But it wasn’t quite. correct.
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“Fortunately it was just the seat and it wasn’t the keel itself which is too narrow. I have since been able to sit down and am in good shape.”
Ricciardo says that as the teams have pushed the boundaries in terms of slimmer cockpit width, his hips mean there’s not much more room for designers.
However, he is convinced that any performance deficit that a team would face if they could not reduce the cockpit enough would be more than offset by being more comfortable and able to drive more naturally.
“Yeah, I feel like I’m definitely the limit,” he said.
“I think the way they design the cars and the chassis now, everything is trying to be as tight and compact as possible.
“So really, my hips are the limiting factor sometimes.
“So, I just tell them, ‘Just make sure I’m comfortable, and if you think that is causing you to lose a tenth of aerodynamics, then I’m just going to drive faster on the track! “
Ricciardo will return to action for the first pre-season test in Bahrain next month.