Daniel Ricciardo prepares for AlphaTauri comeback with seat fit

Sam Cooper
Daniel Ricciardo smiling during a seat fit. July 2023.

Daniel Ricciardo smiling during a seat fit. July 2023.

Daniel Ricciardo has taken the next step on his return to Formula 1 by having a seat fit ready for his AlphaTauri debut.

The shock return of Ricciardo to a full-time Formula 1 seat was announced this week when the Australian was picked to replace the struggling Nyck de Vries in Red Bull’s sister team, AlphaTauri.

It marks not only a return to Formula 1 for Ricciardo but a return to one of his former teams having first driven for AlphaTauri’s predecessor Toro Rosso in 2012.

Ricciardo’s return is one that will have to be hastily prepared for with just 10 days separating the timing of the announcement and free practice one of his first race back in Hungary.

As such, Ricciardo has undergone the important step of ensuring his car is comfortable by having a seat fit done in preparation for his return.

AlphaTauri posted to their social media channels images of the smiling Ricciardo as he sat in the cockpit and had expanding foam fill around him to capture a mould.

Speaking on his return to Faenza, Ricciardo said “Ciao tutti, what’s going on?

“I was greeted with a very nice welcome back Honey Badger because it’s been 10 years since I was what was then Toro Rosso and now, of course is Scuderia AlphaTauri.

“I’m learning my Italian again, I’m getting my accent going and this my first day at Faenza so a very nice warm welcome and happy to be here.”

What is a F1 seat fit?

While the term ‘seat fit’ for most of us means rotating a small wheel on the side of our seats in our road cars, for Formula 1 drivers and indeed any motorsport athlete, it is a little more complicated.

Considering these drivers are going to be sat in these cars for around two hours and are putting their bodies under intense G-forces, they are going to need to be comfortable so to achieve this, the team’s will have a seat mould made up fitting exactly to the driver’s body.

This is done by a driver donning their race suit and boots then stepping into either a mock-up of the cockpit or the chassis itself and sitting on a bag that’s filled with expanding foam.

As the driver sits back, the foam takes shape around them, meeting the contours of their body and also the shape of the chassis.

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Next the drivers will make the same movements that they would do in a race such as turning the wheel to ensure their arms and elbows are comfortable in the foam and if needed, the foam can be trimmed down for a better fit.

That foam mould will then be scanned into CAD software to create a 3D model of the seat which is then used to produce a mould upon which layers of carbon fibre are applied and then cured in an autoclave to create a carbon fibre seat.

The driver will then test out the carbon fibre seat and provide any feedback for things they want adjusted before the seat is ready to race.

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