Outgoing McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo has been ridiculed by the sport’s TV graphic designers, after a pre-race graphic regarding the Australian had the wording “struggling again, McLaren”.
Viewers who noticed the caption have since called out the sport’s official TV coverage and have labelled the aforementioned Ricciardo caption as “disgusting” and “toxic”.
Ricciardo had another horrific weekend at Zandvoort, after finishing in P17, whilst team-mate Lando Norris finished seventh.
The label given to Ricciardo was a real ‘low blow’, given that all the other drivers had much more neutral captions awarded to them.
At a time when the sport is attempting to stand firm against abuse amongst fans, Ricciardo’s graphic gives off a very different message.
This wasn’t the only thing fans noticed before the race got underway, as a camera recorded part of a conversation between Ricciardo and Red Bull Racing’s Sergio Pérez.
Whilst parts of it were inaudible, the 33-year-old could clearly be heard saying “Take year off and come back in 2024”, he then stopped talking after noticing the camera.
This is the biggest hint yet that Ricciardo is considering taking a year-long hiatus from the sport, with only the Haas F1 Team and Williams Racing having a possible home for Ricciardo in 2023.
The Australian is set to receive a fee of around $12 million to leave the Woking-based team at the end of the season, with the team having finally announced last Friday that 2021 F2 World Champion Oscar Piastri would be replacing him.
Neither option would give Ricciardo what he wants, a car that can challenge for victories.
This weekend’s Italian Grand Prix will of course bring back some incredible memories for both Ricciardo and McLaren, after the Honey Badger claimed the team’s first victory since 2012.
Last season’s Italian GP saw Ricciardo at his very best, with the Australian aiming to “bring back last year’s magic”.
“I’ll try to bring back last year’s magic,” Ricciardo said after the Dutch Grand Prix.
“It was always going to be a tricky Sunday because of where we started and the nature of the track,” he said.
“The first few laps were not too bad. I think we made some places here and there but starting that far back its hard to make a big impression, you need a big difference to make some moves and overtakes.
“In clear air, it felt like I had a little bit of pace to use – but it didn’t always seem to last long. So, obviously another challenging weekend.”