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F1’s Daniel Ricciardo cruises into crypto at Token2049

McLaren’s Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo sat down with Cointelegraph during the Token2049 conference in Singapore, discussing his recent involvement in crypto ahead of the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix.

Alongside OKX chief marketing officer Haider Rafique, the duo delved into the partnership between McLaren Racing and the crypto exchange, exploring a variety of entertaining marketing moves between the two brands.

Ricciardo featured in a new OKX advert launched earlier this year standing alongside the McLaren MCL36 F1 racing car while his “spirit animal” honey badger sat in the cockpit of the vehicle. The tongue-in-cheek advert highlights the relatively unknown status of the cryptocurrency world, which continues to seek avenues to drive wider adoption of the space.

As the first point of order, Ricciardo admitted that he’d first explored the world of cryptocurrencies in 2021 and told Cointelegraph that friends had first piqued his curiosity.

“Last year, I got involved. I got my OKX wallet and everything. It was really through a lot of curiosity as well. A lot of my friends were into it, and then through the relationship with the team, […] I got on board. I’m learning every day,” he explained.

Formula 1 drivers are known for their propensity to push the boundaries in various aspects of their life and Ricciardo joked that his foray into crypto accelerated fairly quickly. The 33-year-old said he was trying to increase his knowledge of the space and saw the value of diversification that cryptocurrency markets offer:

“I was actually starting to get pretty involved to a point where a few people on my team were like, ‘Alright, you’re spending a bit too much time on here.’ It’s great, and I am certainly curious in terms of diversification and trying to understand more about the space.”

OKX, meanwhile, has explored creative marketing efforts through the multi-year partnership with McLaren, announcing a livery takeover for the next two stops on the F1 calendar. Bold, orange OKX branding is front and center for the Singapore and Japan Grand Prix races and Ricciardo believes the efforts will draw more fans into the world of cryptocurrencies.

Ricciardo said the new livery in Singapore and Japan is about “fan engagement” and bringing them on board.

“OKX is at the forefront, like we are with Formula 1, trying to innovate and be forward-thinking. It’s cool. This is the first time this has been done, as well, with a livery takeover,” he said

Rafique highlighted synergies between the cryptocurrency industry and Formula 1, with the “velocity of innovation” from the sport in parallel with the speed at which the blockchain and cryptocurrency ecosystem has continued to develop:

“Ultimately, the fun that we are all having comes from being creative together. Just with this livery, the two design teams worked really closely together, and we’re just so excited we got to work with the McLaren F1 team, with Daniel, and now we have this amazing design that we’re excited for the world to see.”

Formula 1 marks its return to the Singapore street circuit for the first time since 2019. The build-up to the race has coincided with the Token2049 conference, with the street circuit slowly pieced together until full road closures took effect on Sept. 29.

Before COVID-19, Ricciardo had enjoyed success at the track and hopes to emulate his previous podium finishes in the city:

“It’s good to be back. 2019 was the last time, and I’ve always loved street circuits. And before, it’s all up, you’re on the track trying to figure it all out because it does look different when it’s not all put together. I’m really happy to be back. I’ve had some podiums here in the past, so let’s just say I am coming in hot.”

Formula 1 continues to attract marketing and advertising deals with the biggest firms in the world of cryptocurrencies. OKX was the latest cryptocurrency exchange and trading platform to pen a deal with a major team, signing up as the primary partner of McLaren in May 2022.