The Tattoos Of Formula 1

The first racing weekend of the Formula 1 season is upon us. With one of the most dramatic races ever to close out last year, 2022 is set to be intense both on and off the track. Following Netflix’s show Drive to Survive, interest in the sport has peaked to previously unknown levels.

No longer do people perceive just cars going round and round for a couple of hours, but instead strong characters with complicated relationships between – and amongst – the teams. The drivers have humour, anxiety, dreams, and – tattoos. 

We have previously done a special on the ink of Lewis Hamilton, and while the seven-time world champion (we shall leave our personal feelings about Abu Dhabi 2021 out of this post) certainly has an impressive collection, he is not the only driver on the circuit sporting body art. 

Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo, despite having a fear of needles and once believing he would never get a tattoo, has one of the most impressive collections of the Formula 1 crew.

However, he did end up getting his first piece in 2013 when he was on the verge of getting signed by Red Bull. He has been quoted as saying 

“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.”

By now, it has become a habit for the Aussie multi-time winner. He has somewhere close to 20 pieces, many in the style of American Traditional, featuring bold outlines and primary colours. However, some are more minimalist and modern, and motives range from classic sailor imagery (including a double heart with ‘mum’ and ‘papa’ banners) to single-line spacefarers. Some of his tattoos serve as memorabilia and souvenirs of places he has visited, like an eagle he got while in the US. 

Temporary tattoo from ohmytat.com

Bet turned into Renault boss’ first tattoo

When Ricciardo joined Renault as a driver in 2019, he made a bet with his boss, Cyril Abiteboul, that if he managed to get a podium, Abiteboul had to get a tattoo. Ricciardo finished in third place in both the 2020 Eifel Grand Prix and 2020 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

However, it wasn’t until December 2021 that Abibetoul made good on his promise. The deal was that Ricciardo could choose the design, but his former boss the size and the placement. 

Abiteboul opted for the back of the lower leg (which is generally one of the least painful places to get a tattoo), and the pair settled on a minimalist honey badger motive framed by one half of the Renault logo.