Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo has been a part of F1 for 10 years now. It’s unbelievable to imagine how quickly a decade has gone by since a goofy kid from Perth made his F1 debut with HRT. He’s a fearless racer, the undisputed king of late brakers and Formula 1 fans adore him worldwide. However, only a few know of Daniel’s early struggles in karting and what he did to convince his father to let him pursue a racing career.
Growing up in a relatively quaint Australian city like Perth, Ricciardo’s journey to F1 wasn’t completely straightforward. Growing up on a farm, the honey badger’s transition to the fast-paced world of F1 has humble beginnings. So how did Daniel convince his dad to let him pursue a career in racing?
“I didn’t overthink it, all I needed was to convince him to buy me a go-kart”
“At 9 years old, I wasn’t like, yeah dad I’m gonna make it”
“It was more like; can you please buy me a go-kart? I like driving fast” said Ricciardo on F1’s official Beyond the Grid podcast.
Ricciardo also disclosed that his father, Joe, wasn’t very strict during his early karting days. However, Daniel’s father wasn’t one to fool around at the race track.
Ricciardo also revealed that he wanted to stand out from the crowd and do something different from the other kids. However, Ricciardo’s most surprising revelation was his early struggles in karting. As it turns out, the honey badger was quite timid back in the day and not one to ‘send it’. Daniel recalled an early incident from his karting days when his father was upset with him.
“I was following two of my rivals at the time and they were like fighting through practice and getting racy”
“[I] was quick enough to hang with them but I wasn’t getting involved in the fight, I was sitting back very timid and basically not making much effort”
“I wasn’t really an overtaker at that age and I think he [Joe] just got frustrated that day and basically we got back to the car and he didn’t talk to me”
“We went home without saying a word”
Had this never happened, Ricciardo may have never become the fearless driver that he is today.
Ricciardo revealed that he was unsure of whether he would ever visit a go-kart track or race again. Fortunately, that never happened and Ricciardo is never afraid to go wheel to wheel with anyone in F1 today.