Daniel Ricciardo says that a late addition message on his helmet for the Monaco Grand Prix was "not directed at anyone", amid growing speculation over his future with the McLaren team.
The 32-year-old has struggled to match the performance levels of younger teammate Lando Norris since moving to the Woking-based squad in 2021, despite winning last year's Italian Grand Prix.
As a result, there has been talk that Ricciardo's days with the team could be numbered, despite having a contract agreement in place until the end of the 2023 season.
During the Monaco Grand Prix weekend, Ricciardo added the letters 'FEA' to his helmet: an acronym for 'F*** 'em all'. The letters were placed on the rear of the helmet, in clear view of his MCL36's onboard cameras.
"I put it on my [Red Bull] helmet in 2018 as well," Ricciardo said, as quoted by Fox Sports Australia.
"I like to use acronyms to pump me up."
Ricciardo: It's honestly not directed at anyone
But the Australian has claimed that the message is not directed at anyone in particular.
It comes after McLaren boss Zak Brown made clear, publicly, that Ricciardo's performances with the team have not met expectations.
Discussing the helmet, Ricciardo explained: "It’s honestly not directed at anyone; it’s something that I've said for a few years, and it just kind of gets me in my happy place.
"I think as well, as a driver, you put the helmet on and that's also very significant of flipping the switch. It's one of the last things I'll see when I put the helmet on.
"It reminds me to channel in and get into the zone."
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RacingNews365.com F1 journalists Dieter Rencken and Michael Butterworth discuss the Monaco Grand Prix, and reflect on whether decisions made by the Race Director were overly cautious.