Race ace Ricciardo talks tattoos

July 27, 2018 | 10:48
Australian Formula 1 driver Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull tells AFP what his numerous tattoos mean for him.
race ace ricciardo talks tattoos
Le pilote de F1 australien Daniel Ricciardo montre l'un de ses tatouages, le 21 juin 2018 au Daniel Ricciardo shows off a tattoo on his finger. (Photo: AFP/Gerard Julien)


"I was always interested in tattoos because of the interests I had in life, like punk rock music, motocross and extreme sports. A lot of the guys had these old school style tattoos. That was really how I started to like them, because people I looked up to had them. But I was always scared because I didn't like needles, so I said I'll never get a tattoo because I wouldn't like the pain."


"Then in 2013, I got my first tattoo. I thought about it for a while. It was quite an important time in my career, when I was on the verge of getting the Red Bull drive. It could be a life changing moment so I said: let's get something that I like the style but still has some meaning about my journey. So I got a ship sailing around the world and a lighthouse which represents home.

"Even though I am travelling a lot, I still keep home, my family and my friends quite close to my heart. Then there is the 'no regrets only memories'. That was like: this is the path I have chosen, now that I have gone that deep, go all the way but also take something from it. Take some memories, enjoy the experience. That one for sure had some meaning. Since, I got some others that, to be honest, I just like the look of and others still have meaning."


"I thought if I got the first one really big, I would never get another one, but that didn't last ... I have eight, I think, and I am sure I will get more. When you start, you don't stop!

race ace ricciardo talks tattoos
Daniel Ricciardo's "girl racer" tattoo. (Photo: AFP/Gerard Julien)

"Now if I like the artist, I would just give them the idea and I trust that they put together what I like because I know their styles. I think the more you get, the less fussy you become. For the first one, everything had to be perfect. Now, I am like: 'It looks good enough' (laugh)."


"One of the most recent ones I got was 'Mum and Papa'. Growing up, you are very close to your parents, then you get to the age where you want to move away from home and start being with you friends but then it comes back. You get to another age and you start to want to spend more time with them.

"I am at the point where I don't see my parents that much but every time I see them, I love spending time with them and I wanted to get something for them. They don't like all of my tattoos but this one they have to like!"


"One thing I thought was fun was I would get tattoos where I would travel and cities I liked. So I got an eagle in Austin (Texas). I just thought it was fun to get something American in an American city that I love. So the eagle doesn't mean a whole lot to me but it is more about the experience I had in that place. I got some in Perth (his hometown), Canada, America, England, San Francisco ..."


"Some took four or five hours, then it becomes painful. The positive with that is, when you finish it, you feel a sense of satisfaction because you overcame something that is not easy. It is a bit like an achievement when you finish a tattoo and something about that achievement makes you want to get more even though the pain was really bad."


"Tattoos became more accepted since I got the first one. In 2013, I think Lewis (Hamilton) was the only other driver with a tattoo. Maybe Fernando (Alonso) but he is more private. I was just joining a big team and I didn't want to create the perception that I was already changing.

race ace ricciardo talks tattoos
Daniel Ricciardo shows his hand tattooed with the number 3 and his tattoos on the thigh at the Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet, southern France. (Photo: AFP/Gerard Julien)

"Now, in a way, it is strange if you don't have a tattoo. I am comfortable with myself, with my position in the sport, so I just say: if people want to see them, they are going to see them. And actually to hide them sometimes created more stress ... I have actually had some good compliments. A lot of people like the 'Mum and Papa' and the girl racer. They know it is my job but clearly it is not me and they like the idea of that. And surprisingly my mum really liked this one (the '3' on his finger)!"


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