Daniel Ricciardo reveals Margaret River wine region as WA’s best known destination globally
Formula One phenom Daniel Ricciardo has nominated the Margaret River wine region as the WA destination with the best established global reputation as he launched a new tourism campaign selling his home state to the world on Thursday.
Ricciardo has spent most of his adult life criss-crossing the planet as one of the leading figures in the world’s most popular motorsport.
The Duncraig-raised driver said he had become accustomed to having to explain to strangers where Perth was located – with the South West more likely to set off a light bulb in conversations with foreigners.
“I’d say the one most people have heard of is Margaret River, I guess also for the wine,” Ricciardo said.
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“You know, it’s a big region and a lot of people I meet are wine drinkers so maybe they’ve heard of Margaret River (rather than Perth).
“But I’m very happy to educate them a little more.”
Ricciardo is helming a new $3.6 million Drive the Dream tourism campaign that seeks to market WA both interstate and overseas as the ideal location for a road trip.
Footage of Ricciardo and best mate Blake Mills driving between Perth and Exmouth – taking in Kalbarri, Shark Bay and Bullara Station – will soon be beamed into homes in Europe, the UK, South East Asia and Japan.
With more than 10 million followers across Facebook and Instagram, Ricciardo was described by Premier Roger Cook as “perhaps the most famous Western Australian in the world”.
His profile has reached dizzying new heights since the release of Netflix documentary Drive to Survive in 2019, which has attracted a new generation of fans to Formula One.
“(Drive to Survive) definitely changed a lot,” Ricciardo said.
“In certain parts of the world F1 was the biggest sport in the world but you would go to other cities... and no one would even know what F1 is.”
The 34-year-old described arriving in America and having to explain to a customs official how his profession was different to NASCAR.
“So from that to now being really sometimes like chased in the street in cities that didn’t probably know what Formula One was six or seven years ago, that’s been the biggest change,” he said.
“Which is cool because it’s a sport obviously I’ve loved and followed my whole life and now (I get to) share it with more people.
“And I think the series has given viewers an understanding that it is a sport – we do go through the highs and lows of obviously what sport does.”
Asked to nominate which fellow F1 driver he would most like to take on a road trip around WA, Ricciardo landed on former McLaren teammate Lando Norris.
“It’s risky saying someone who hasn’t been a teammate because I guess I don’t know them too well,” he joked.
“So I’d probably have to go with someone that’s been a teammate… even someone like Lando.
“We were teammates for two years. I think the first year was very different to the second year.
“I think the second year we got to know each other a lot better.
“So I think on that, knowing that if we spent a lot of time together in a car and confined space maybe that would blossom even more.”
Ricciardo departed McLaren at the end of last season, finding himself without a starting seat for the first time in more than a decade.
He signed with AlphaTauri mid-season but suffered a broken hand during the Dutch Grand Prix that has kept him sidelined since late August.
Ricciardo said his recovery was “coming along” and he was planning to return to the simulator next week.
“That’s kind of my first test really to see where I’m at and simply make a call from there.
“I definitely want to be out there in… call it the next few weeks, that’s the plan. Probably early next week I should know.”
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