Daniel Ricciardo’s new helmet livery which he unveiled last week in Melbourne held a mystery: what was the meaning of the ‘Stop Being Them’ message inscribed on the side of the Aussie’s lid?

Many believed it was a cryptic dig directed at his former team, Red Bull Racing, proclaiming his new-found freedom and liberation from the energy drink company’s powerful promotional chains.

In reality, the personal directive is but a simple motto destined to inspire and spur him on in 2019.

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“It’s not targeted at Red Bull, but just having the freedom [with Renault] to do whatever I want, I figured why not go for something crazy and different,” explained Ricciardo who entrusted the artsy design of his new helmet to artist Nicolai Sclater, better known as Ornamental Conifer.

“So, ‘stop being them’ is basically just encouragement to be yourself and don’t follow trends. If you like going a certain way, then be bold and do it.”

The words may not have been intended for Red Bull, but Ricciardo’s new life with Renault has offered him a clean slate, with a lighter promotional agenda to boot.

“What was really nice was I didn’t go to an airport for six weeks, I think that was the longest in 10 years that I’ve been off a plane,” said the Honey Badger, speaking of his off-season and about what he enjoyed the most during his down time.

“I enjoy being outdoors, hanging out with friends and maybe snapping the neck off a couple of beers.”

Ricciardo’s first salvo with Renault was a dud unfortunately, but team mate Nico Hulkenberg believes the 29-year-old just needs a little more time to grow in to his new environment.

“I think he has settled alright, but it takes a little bit of time to really get comfortable for a driver,” said Hulkenberg.

“It’s basically like a new leather shoe, it takes some time to really walk it in and feel it’s comfortable and soft. So I think he’s in the process of that.”

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