Daniel Ricciardo insists the ‘FEA’ written on the back of his helmet at the Monaco Grand Prix was “not directed at anyone”.
Ricciardo is in the midst of a difficult patch in his Formula 1 career, the McLaren driver having scored just one top-ten result this season compared to his team-mate Lando Norris’ five.
It has pundits questioning whether this is the end of the road for the Aussie and McLaren.
That CEO Zak Brown has told the media that Ricciardo has “not met expectations” and that there are “mechanisms” in place to end their contract early has only ramped up the pressure on the driver’s shoulders.
He responded in Monaco with an ‘FEA’, which means ‘F*** ’em all’, written on the back of his helmet.
Did anyone else notice the letters "FEA" ("fuck 'em all") written on Ricciardo's helmet today?
Is that.. allowed on the F1 broadcast? 😅 pic.twitter.com/MpZoZxZ0ao
— Lucy 🍃🏁 (@LastLapLucy) May 28, 2022
“I put it on my helmet in 2018 [his last year with Red Bull] as well,” Ricciardo said as per F1i.com.
“I like to use acronyms to pump me up. It’s honestly not directed at anyone, it’s something that I’ve said for a few years, and it just kind of gets me in my happy place.
“I think as well, as a driver, you put the helmet on and that’s also very significant of flipping the switch. It’s one of the last things I’ll see when I put the helmet on.
“So it reminds me to channel in and get into the zone.”
However, it didn’t help him score points.
Ricciardo finished down in 13th place while Norris added another points-scoring finish to his tally as he brought his MCL36 home in sixth place.
Once again the pressure is mounting on Ricciardo’s shoulders.
He’s hoping to bounce back at the next race on the calendar, the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
“Obviously, a tough weekend to take, unfortunately I’m experienced with these – had a few of them the last 12 months, so I feel like I can handle them a little bit better,” he said.
“Therefore, I will continue to smile or at least try to smile but deep down I’m obviously disappointed but yes, I’ll look at it now, debrief and whatever – but just probably take a few days off.
“I have a few friends here and try to just enjoy some moments away from the track and then reset for Baku.”
Ricciardo’s current McLaren deal runs through to the end of 2023.