Daniel Ricciardo proposes controversial solution to fan behaviour

F1 drivers have been criticising the behaviour of paddock guests over the last two race weekends.

Access to the F1 paddock is the highest honour that can be given to a fan of the sport, allowing them to walk amongst the drivers, see the motor homes and maybe even snap a selfie.

Pierre Gasly has raised his issue with these guests after the Mexican Grand Prix, with the Frenchman suggesting that some fans had taken it a step too far, allegedly opening his bag which was left in the garage.

Lando Norris has backed up Gasly’s comments, telling reporters that sometimes drivers have to take hidden routes or employ security just to avoid being mobbed by fans clambering to get a selfie or an autograph, actions that the McLaren driver claims no driver wants to take.

One of the main criticisms has been that guests in the garage do not allow the drivers to have their own space in crucial moments, often trying to interact with the drivers as they begin to gear up for a crucial qualifying session, when all the drivers need is to be in their own headspace.

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Although this will not be affecting Daniel Ricciardo next year, the Australian has suggested a fix to the driver’s complaints, with the introduction  of a new rule.

“When you’re about to get into the car, that’s a sensitive moment,” he said when asked about the other drivers’ comments.

“The thing as well is that people forget this isn’t an ordinary sport. We’re not just – I don’t want to say another sport because it sounds like I’m disrespecting it.

“But we’re jumping in cars and going at the speeds we go, and we require a certain amount of concentration, and that kind of stuff.

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“That’s just the truth. Especially the fact as well that it’s not an ordinary sport. There needs to be some distance before the time that we go into the car and compete,” suggested the 33-year-old.

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“It could even be there’s a little bit of an off-limits interval of 15, 20 minutes before the session starts; some form of guideline that this is a moment where the drivers are kept to themselves.”

The Australian’s suggestion would see fans restricted from interacting with the drivers immediately before a qualifying session or race, allowing them to be fully focused without all the unwanted distractions.

“Again, I don’t want to come up with solutions on the spot, but we do need to get in a certain head space to get behind the wheel of these cars. I think having some distance around those crucial moments could be helpful,” Ricciardo concluded.