Daniel Ricciardo makes crypto claim after collapse of Mercedes partner

Ex-McLaren racer Daniel Ricciardo became a brand ambassador for cryptocurrency exchange OKX in May 2022.

The crypto market has had a huge impact on Formula 1 in the past 24 months or so, with the vast majority of the teams having a sponsor from the cryptosphere.

However, the collapse of FTX sent shockwaves through the crypto sponsorship market, after they collapsed last year.

Their collapse caused a significant crash in the market, which came at a shocking time for Mercedes and Daniel Ricciardo.

Mercedes had been sponsored by FTX, whilst Ricciardo became a brand ambassador for crypto exchange OKX, just a few months before the demise of FTX.

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This caused an incredible amount of negative backlash towards the crypto market, given that several A-list celebrities were trying to persuade normal people to get involved.

Ricciardo was therefore put into a difficult position, with it having taken him a while to become comfortable with the idea of being an ambassador for OKX in May last year.

“I’ve been in the sport a long time where for sure, a lot of things get put in front of me, which is exciting. But you kind of also learn when to say ‘no, that’s not right for me,’” Ricciardo told Cointelegraph at Token2049.

OKX have gone on to become partners with Manchester City and McLaren, Ricciardo’s former team.

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Understandably, OKX chief marketing officer Haider Rafique often receives calls from both Man City and McLaren about whether everything is still working as normal, given how the market can be a “little shaky”.

“We certainly get those calls,” Rafique said, “from McLaren or Man City. ‘Hey, is everything all right over there? Like the industry looks a little shaky?’ And we have to understand and put ourselves in their shoes and respond accordingly.”

Given the uncertainty over the market, Rafique has had to build a unique relationship with Ricciardo, something he admits is “personal” rather than purely “transactional”.

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“It wasn’t a transactional relationship, it was a personal relationship,” Rafique said.

Ricciardo admitted that Rafique did “a really good job to bring us in on personal level to educate us and inform us.”

The Aussie added: “I was curious and wanted to learn — I had a lot of comfort going in with them. I’ve seen enough now to know that this is good for me, and it’s safe for me to kind of get involved in this.”