With the F1 season fast approaching, drivers are meeting their new teams and getting used to their latest surroundings. Daniel Ricciardo is no different, moving from Renault to midfield rivals McLaren.
Recently, the organizers elected to move the Australian GP event to November, owing to quarantine rules. Naturally, the Australian driver would have faced slight disappointment not seeing his home race appear at the start of the racing calendar.
However, Ricciardo looks on with optimism and believes there are some benefits to moving the race later in 2021. He also thinks that by the time the Australian GP race comes around, he would know where he stands amongst his rivals on the F1 grid.
Ricciardo stated, “There’s something cool about my home race being the first race, but later in the year, there’s some benefits.
“Instead of me not knowing or speculating how I’ll go or how the season will go, we’ll know how I’m going, how McLaren is going, and we’ll know how competitive we are.
“This year, we have the Mercedes engine to get used to, I’m getting settled into a new team with hardly any testing … we weren’t going to be anywhere near our best in Melbourne if it was in March, so personally I’m more confident we’ll be stronger in November.”
With a limited amount of testing time available to the drivers, the first few races would act as an adaptation period for Ricciardo. Considering the season ends in early December, the 31-year-old would have gained full form with McLaren by then.
Ricciardo continued, “The most important thing for the fans and for me personally is that we have a race, but if it moved to later in the year permanently, I wouldn’t be against it.”
Following Sainz’s departure to Ferrari, McLaren quickly decided to bring in Ricciardo to partner Lando Norris at the team. The Australian had an exceptional season in 2020, finishing fifth in the Drivers’ standings and clinching two podiums.
With Mercedes power now at the heart of McLaren’s cars, Ricciardo would eye consistency with possible podiums and the odd race win too. Thus, it will certainly be intriguing as to how he goes about his business with his new team in 2021.