Ricciardo sheds kilos ahead of F1 season

Thu Feb 18, 2016 2:49pm EST
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Red Bull's ever-smiling Australian Daniel Ricciardo is making sure he will go into the new Formula One season next month looking leaner, if no meaner.

The driver told reporters at a pre-season launch that he was under team orders to get his weight down and still had some way to go if he is to reach the target before the first race in Melbourne on March 20.

"I'm still getting there. So far I've lost just over three kilos and I've got about two more to go," said Ricciardo, winner of three races in his career.

Driver weight was a particular issue during the 2014 season when the significantly heavier new V6 turbo hybrid power units were introduced to replace the old V8 engines.

Bigger men like Ricciardo, who is 1.75 meters tall and tipped the scales in the mid-60kg range in 2014, had to lose weight then because minimum car weights did not increase accordingly.

The limits were increased by 10kg for the 2015 season to level the playing field and address concerns that drivers were risking their health with too much weight loss.

However, Red Bull were handicapped last season by their uncompetitive Renault engine and are now seeking other ways of closing the performance gap, one of them being reducing weight where possible.

Teams believe that every five kg of weight is equal to around 0.2 seconds per lap, a significant amount in a sport measured to the thousandth of a second.   Continued...

Red Bull Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia reacts to media taking his photos as he arrives at the Yas Marina circuit before the start of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix November 26, 2015. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani