Daniel Ricciardo baffles F1 fans with Australian GP helmet despite not racing

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    Formula 1 favourite Daniel Ricciardo will certainly look the part in the unlikely event that he's called upon to drive in Sunday's Australian Grand Prix.

    That's after Red Bull showcased the custom helmet built for their reserve driver ahead of his homecoming, which has got fans talking despite the fact he'll be watching from the sidelines. Ricciardo, 33, re-joined his former employers at the end of 2022 after cutting ties with McLaren, though his duties have been largely ambassadorial thus far.

    But the team nonetheless marked his return to Oz with a new piece of hardware, a vanilla and light-brown number decked out with a flame effect. However, the best feature is situated on the back, where a honey badger donning a traditional cork hat features prominently.

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    "Slick Ric has got a new lid," tweeted the official Red Bull Racing Twitter account in anticipation of this weekend's action. Ricciardo wore the same helmet in a recent team promo ahead of the Australian GP, where he can be seeing racing dirt bikes, a helicopter and a plane through the Outback.

    While it wasn't lost on some supporters that the helmet is highly unlikely to be seen on-track given Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez's success this season, the response to the new helmet was largely positive. In fact, many on social media called for the Australian to be given a seat at some point during his home Grand Prix, even if only a run during practice.

    Do you think F1 has seen the last of Daniel Ricciardo as a driver? Let us know in the comments section.

    "Give him a seat for real," begged one of the Ricciardo faithful in the replies, upset one of the grid's most admired personalities is currently out of the spotlight. Another teased: "Does Daniel get a test drive in one of the practise sessions?"

    Home advantage rarely played in Ricciardo's favour during his days as a starter with Red Bull and Toro Rosso, having retired or suffered disqualification in four of his nine appearances at the Australian GP to date. There's hope yet that the veteran may come back onto the grid next year, however, after he offered a fresh hint that 2024 could signal a comeback.

    "The signs are pointing towards getting back on the grid," he told reporters at a recent Red Bull partner event, per ESPN. "I feel like that's where I'm tracking in my head and a few of the habits that I'm having or doing is pointing towards that.

    "It's only been a few months [out of F1] but I think some itches have been scratched, so to speak. I've actually weirdly found that the days that I've had no schedule are the days when I've actually done training, and I've done things like I would before."

    Red Bull head to Melbourne leading one-two in the standings, with Verstappen a single point ahead of Perez after two races. It would require a small miracle for Ricciardo to get race minutes this term, though he's ready to look the part if the need arises in front of his home fans.


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