Daniel “The Rock” Ricciardo – by Sennafan24.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by Sennafan24 are his own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of others at http://lewishamilton-44.com/. Reader discretion is greatly advised.
The whacky world of Professional Wrestling signifies a warning for Formula One. Times are tough in the machismo driven pantomime. The hard working, yet colourless grapplers known as Daniel Bryan and Seth Rollins have not been able to hold the audience’s interest. While dedicated grappling fans lap up Bryan and Rollins’s no-nonsense approach, and defend their faults to the death, it is undeniable that neither have the ability to captivate the wider audience. Instead, it is the larger than life movie star known as “The Rock” who casually cruises into the Pro Wrestling circus and sets TV ratings alight. In this environment it is charisma, aura, and celebrity that trump a rabid dedication to one’s craft.
While the dynamics of Pro Wrestling and Formula One are worlds apart, there is a transferable message here that needs to be heard. Namely, that most of the up and coming drivers in F1 have the commercial appeal of a 2nd hand toilet duck. While not offensive figures, the likes of Daniil Kvyat, Max Verstappen, and Valtteri Bottas are interchangeable characters. Their on-track talent is obvious, and at times even engrossing. Their off-track personalities however? Not so much. I have met chequered accountants who have more presence than these 3.
What happened to the days of Senna, Mansell, Piquet and Prost? Not only were these 4 strong characters, but in terms of personality they were worlds apart from each other. The emotional and daring words of Senna in that distinctive Latin tone, the carefully considered words of Prost accompanied by a French twang, the monotone yet exclusive mumblings of Mansell, the sharp and brutal put-downs of Piquet – all of them are timeless, endearing and unforgettable. The captivating uniqueness of these 4 greats was not just confined to verbal interaction – as Senna’s movie star good looks, Mansell’s trademark moustache, and Prost’s curly hair made for quite the visual contrast. The only uniqueness that the emerging crop of drivers display – is that each one of them is slightly more generic than the one that preceded them.
Some will argue – “Hey Sennafan24, you handsome devil. Times have changed. The F1 circus is much more P.R orientated, and furthermore you haven’t given the new drivers a chance. Let them have a bit of exposure before you start mouthing off”. My response to these arguments is to simply point in the direction of Daniel Ricciardo. While sharing the exact same environment as other young drivers, the Red Bull dynamo has managed to stand out, and is currently the only driver under the age of 30 worthy of top billing on a marquee.
If one is to look at the Aussie’s Twitter page it is clear that Ricciardo has the organic quality of being interesting. While most young F1 drivers are probably posting in the Livery Competition thread on the Autosport forum, Ricciardo is spending his leisure time head-banging at the Donnington Download Festival and cheering on his favourite Mixed Martial Arts fighter in the UFC. Dare I say, rather than being a driver who considers driving to be his life, he instead comes across as a driver with a life. This, grouped with his natural humour, Italian roots, and signature wide grin, make him a marketing dream. It also helps that he’s the fastest driver on the grid under the age of 30 (Hello Sebastian Vettel)
While hard-core F1 fans tend to reject marketable drivers as swiftly as women reject their advances, I don’t think Ricciado’s appeal should be looked down upon. Rather, I think it should be embraced. In a torrid time where the sport is quickly losing relevance, at least there is one young driver mastering his art, both on and off track.
So in closing, I propose a toast to Daniel: You’re a man whose appeal goes beyond the classes, and if there is a future for this sport, will no doubt appeal to the masses.
P.S – Your girlfriend is hot.
P.P.S – Check out my Senna thread on the forum. It’s bloody great.
P.P.P.S – 007 is not 6ft 4.