Daniel Ricciardo, known for his iconic ‘high-performance athlete’ quote, has reiterated his stance on Formula 1 drivers being considered athletes.
The debate over whether F1 drivers can be classified as athletes has lingered for decades, akin to discussions about sports such as snooker and darts.
While opinions on this matter may vary, AlphaTauri driver Ricciardo firmly asserts that he and his F1 colleagues undeniably fall into the category of athletes.
Formula 1 drivers face rigorous physical demands, requiring exceptional strength and endurance to withstand the intense heat within the cockpit and maintain control of their vehicles, hurtling at speeds exceeding 200mph.
They follow strict training regimens that encompass strength training, core conditioning, flexibility exercises, and cardiovascular workouts to meet these demands.
During an interview with crypto company OKX, Ricciardo reaffirmed his position on this matter, stating, “Misconception.
“We probably don’t have the biggest muscles in the world because we have to be very lightweight.
“I can speak from experience that I’ve jumped out of the car on several occasions, saying, ‘That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.’
“So, athletes, baby.”
Ricciardo, who is poised to make his return at the United States Grand Prix in Austin after recovering from an injury sustained at Zandvoort, has been temporarily replaced by AlphaTauri substitute Liam Lawson.
During Ricciardo’s absence, Lawson has not only filled in capably but has occasionally outperformed Yuki Tsunoda, contributing valuable points to the team.
Despite his strong performance so far this season, Lawson won’t be in the F1 driving seat in 2024, as AlphaTauri announced it will stick with Ricciardo and Tsunoda next year.
However, with Sergio Perez’s future still in doubt after a string of disappointing outings, Lawson might be eyeing a shot at Red Bull Racing.