The time has finally come for Daniel Ricciardo to be recognized by the Australian government as a significant Antipodean. During the Governor General’s Australia Day Honours List ceremonies, Danny Ric was awarded the appointment of Member of the Order of Australia (also known as an AM) for his “significant service to motorsport as a competitor and ambassador, and to the community.” I mean, it’s about damn time.
After spending time at five different Formula One teams over the last decade, and winning eight Grands Prix [seven for Red Bull, one for McLaren], the perpetually smiling Aussie is easily one of the better drivers on the grid, and certainly a fan favorite. His sporting achievements certainly qualified him for the award, but when the selection committee took into account his charitable work, including the Ricciardo’s Racers program, he was a shoe-in.
Other Aussies in motorsport to have been recognized include Craig Lowndes, Mark Webber, Jack Brabham, Peter Brock, and last year’s honoree Toby Price. Not to be mean to Mark Webber, but if he deserves one, then so does Ricciardo. I mean, come on.
Ricciardo’s AM is the third highest tier, following Companion of the Order (AC) and Officer of the Order (AO). There is one higher honor, the Medal of the Order (OAM) that is conferred for the highest and most outstanding achievement and service. Perhaps if the former Hispania Racing Team driver can haul McLaren to its first championship since 2008, then he might be worthy of an OAM.
The title doesn’t really mean anything outside of Australia, but you could think of it as the equivalent of an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE), but upside down. It’s not quite as prestigious as a MBE, but it’s still pretty highly regarded. It means Daniel gets a really frickin’ cool looking medal and participates in a fun party.