Nigel Mansell hits out at weight limit

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Nigel Mansell has criticized the minimum weight limit in Formula One next season as the new rules look set to hamper heavier drivers.

Although the minimum combined weight for the driver and car has been risen by 48kg for 2014, the majority of this increase is thought to be taken up by the heavier engines. As teams look to get as close to the minimum weight as possible (making their car lighter and therefore quicker), heavier drivers could be overlooked. For one-time F1 world champion and former IndyCar champion Mansell, this is an injustice.

“It’s wrong,” Mansell told the BBC. “They are not jockeys. It’s disgraceful, it’s discrimination against the medium-sized large driver.”

Nico Hulkenberg’s future is thought to be at threat due to his weight, even though he is widely considered to be one of the most talented drivers on the grid. For Mansell though, this should not be a consideration for teams.

“In years gone by, we didn’t have traction control or power steering – you had to be a strong driver and there were a lot of strong drivers,” Mansell said. “If you had this weight limit, they wouldn’t have been able to drive cars many years ago – or they would have driven with great difficulty. So I think get the weight limit up a bit, make some cars carry some ballast so that the bigger drivers don’t suffer as much.”

Taller drivers often find themselves struggling to match the weight of their rivals, with the outgoing Mark Webber expressing his thoughts on Twitter last month.

Ricciardo set to see Dale Jr.’s final Texas ride in two weeks (VIDEO)

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We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.

And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.

After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.

In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.

Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.

“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.

“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”

Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.

“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”

Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.