Daniel Ricciardo believes his “wide hips” make him the limit for the width of current Formula 1 cockpits, but after early difficulties, he now fits into this year’s McLaren.
The former Renault driver, who signed a three-year agreement with McLaren, found a far too narrow first mock-up seat and had to make changes before his first run in the 2021 MCL35M during a filming day at Silverstone last week.
When asked about the improvement since the tricky first seat fit, the Australian says that his hips must still be taken into account, which also caused headaches inside the ultra-tight Red Bull cockpits he frequented between 2014 and 2018.
“I do have wide hips – I guess. I’m pretty thick boned,” Ric said.
“But I got in, so it was kind of the first mock up of the seat. And with the dimensions that they had, they kind of assumed what would be okay for me. But it wasn’t quite okay.
“Fortunately, it was just the seat and it wasn’t the actual keel itself that is too narrow. Since then I have been able to get in a seat and I do fit.”
Ricciardo says that in terms of slimming the width of the cockpit, when teams have pushed the limits, his hips mean that there is not much more space for designers to play with.
He is persuaded, however, that any performance shortfall a team would face if it did not adequately slim down the cockpit would be more than compensated for by being more relaxed and able to drive more naturally.
“Yeah, I feel like I’m certainly the limit,” he added.
“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.
“So, I just tell them ‘just 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 will return to action for next month’s first pre-season test in Bahrain.