Ricciardo: 'FEA' acronym on helmet 'not directed at anyone'

© XPB 

It's a well-known angry acronym usually targeted at a specific group of people, but Daniel Ricciardo insists the 'FEM' sticker on his helmet last weekend in Monaco wasn't directed at his team or at anyone in particular.

Ricciardo's sustained underperformance with McLaren has led to speculation over the Aussie's future in F1.

Last season, Ricciardo was outperformed by teammate Lando Norris and this year the gap between the two drivers appears to have increased, with the former struggling to adapt to F1's new regulations and to McLaren's new-generation car.

Ahead of last weekend's Monaco Grand Prix, McLaren boss Zak Brown said that Ricciardo had not fulfilled the team's expectations, adding later in the week that the contract between team and driver includes "mechanisms" that may allow for its early termination.

Over the weekend, the acronym 'FEA', which means 'Fuck em all', appeared on the back of Ricciardo's helmet. Queried on the colorful message, the 32-year-old explained its presence.


"I put it on my helmet in 2018 as well," Ricciardo said, referring to his final year with Red Bull.

"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."

Unfortunately, Ricciardo's positive thinking did little to boost his performance during a weekend marked by a big crash in FP2 and a low-key race that was entirely spent in the second half of the field.

"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," said Ricciardo.

"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."

Despite the setbacks and downers, Ricciardo vows to press on, convinced that he'll eventually deliver the goods. But those in the paddock who believe in his resurgence are fast becoming a rare breed.

"It’s tough. I mean, no mistake, Monaco you need confidence," he said. "You need to be at one with the car; for sure if you’re not quite there it can show on the stopwatch.

"So as much as I love this place, at the core, that’s what you need.
"I’ll say there is still some stuff to get on top off, and obviously it’s been a while now, so I wish it still wasn’t the case, but I think the reality is that.

"I think there will be some tracks where it just clicks from the first practice and where good, but I think I’ll expect to probably still work at it and try to keep trying.

"Try to keep trying, that’s it, I won’t go down without a fight but of course I don’t wish to be fighting for 13th. [I'll] try to get back in the points soon."

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter