F1 2015 Driver Review: Daniel Ricciardo

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Daniel Ricciardo

Team: Infiniti Red Bull Racing
Car No.: 3
Races: 19
Podiums: 2
Best Finish: 2nd (Singapore)
Fastest Laps: 3
Points: 92
Laps Led: 7
Championship Position: 8th

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

Daniel Ricciardo arguably faced the biggest challenge of anyone on the grid heading into 2015. Having been the breakout star of 2014 by taking three wins from under Mercedes’ nose, the affable Australian entered the new year with a lot to live up to.

Alas, it wasn’t to be in 2015. The issues with the Renault power unit hit Red Bull hard, limiting Ricciardo to just two podium finishes and a lowly eighth place in the drivers’ championship behind teammate Daniil Kvyat. On paper at least, it looks to have been a terrible year for Ricciardo.

In truth though, his championship score belies his on-track antics and fight this year. He was dropped to the back of the grid regularly due to power unit penalties, yet he was often able to battle back up into the points, such as in Austria and Italy.

Singapore was Ricciardo’s finest hour as he pushed Sebastian Vettel close for the race win in spite of the Renault power unit’s deficiencies, showing that the ‘Honey Badger’ still has the fire of 2014 burning brightly.

Once again, Ricciardo was a much-needed source of fun and humor in the paddock. Long may his Instagram antics continue to delight us.

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

You can’t have favorites in the media world, but it is hard not to love Daniel Ricciardo. As such, I found myself disappointed that the pitfalls of reliability and poor power unit performance sabotaged what should have been a continuation of his breakout 2014 season and left Ricciardo resigned to eighth in points, with only two podiums a year after three wins and five other podiums.

Nevertheless, the frequently happy Australian kept smiling in the face of adversity all season. Singapore was his star turn of the year as he hoped to catch, but came up just shy, of ex-teammate and new Ferrari man Sebastian Vettel.

For a driver who received accolades for beating Vettel a year ago, seeing him get beat more frequently than not by Daniil Kvyat this year raised a few eyebrows. Perhaps Kvyat was more comfortable with the car.

Either way, both drivers were let down by reliability and poor performance; it spoke volumes that as the team’s attitude was questioned throughout the year, the drivers’ weren’t. In fact the saddest it seemed Ricciardo was all year was when he was told prior to Austin he couldn’t eat meat, then told our Will Buxton post-race, “I’ve had no red meat all week. Tonight I’m gonna eat until I feel pretty sad.”

SuperMotocross set to introduce Leader Lights beginning with the World Championship finals


In a continuing effort to help fans keep track of the on track action, SuperMotocross is in the process of developing and implementing leader lights for the unified series.

Currently Supercross (SMX) utilizes stanchions in the infield that are triggered manually by a race official. At least two stanchions are used in each race as a way to draw the eye to the leader, which is especially useful in the tight confines of the stadium series when lapping often begins before the halfway mark in the 22-bike field. This system has been in place for the past two decades.

Later this year, a fully automated system will move to the bike itself to replace the old system. At that point, fans will be able to identify the leader regardless of where he is on track.

The leader lights were tested in the second Anaheim round this year. An example can be seen at the 1:45 mark in the video above on the No. 69 bike.

“What we don’t want to do is move too fast, where it’s confusing to people,” said Mike Muye, senior director of operations for Supercross and SMX in a press release. “We’ve really just focused on the leader at this point with the thought that maybe down the road we’ll introduce others.”

Scheduled to debut with the first SuperMotocross World Championship race at zMax Dragway, located just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 3D carbon fiber-printed LED light will be affixed to each motorcycle. Ten timing loops positioned around the track will trigger the lights of the leader, which will turn green.

SMX’s partner LiveTime Scoring helped develop and implement the system that has been tested in some form or fashion since 2019.

When the leader lights are successfully deployed, SuperMotocross will explore expanding the system to identify the second- and third-place riders. Depending on need and fan acceptance, more positions could be added.

SuperMotocross is exploring future enhancements, including allowing for live fan interaction with the lights and ways to use the lighting system during the race’s opening ceremony.