Formula 1 stalwart Daniel Ricciardo says he is “raring to go” for this weekend’s season-opening Austrian Grand Prix and is adamant there will be no bad feelings within his team despite the awkward divorce from Renault late last month.
Following the curtailed Australian Grand Prix in March, Ricciardo has spent the last three months sentenced to lockdown as the global pandemic took its toll on worldwide motorsport.
Consequently, F1 has been left with several race promoters biting the bullet and opting to cancel their event and has ultimately pathed the way for new circuits such as Mugello and Algarve primed as likely replacements.
Riccardo’s 2020 season will also be his swansong year with the French marque he first inked a deal with at the end of 2018.
A lack of performance upgrades and ill-fated reliability last season saw a disappointed Ricciardo take the opportunity to snare a drive at McLaren for 2021.
But the Australian believes any shock of the news has since abated and admits the forthcoming season will solely be concerned with maximising his potential with Renault.
“I think because time has passed since the news now, and I’ve spoken, if not seen already, some members of the team, I think it’s really back to business,” Ricciardo said.
‘It’s about getting back to business. I’m raring to go. We’re all so excited to go racing again. We’ll get on with it and give it our all as we know the season is going to be shorter than usual and very fast-paced. We want to get some points on the board, begin the season on the right foot and lay a solid foundation for us to build some good momentum.
“I think we’ve made good progress on the car during winter testing. We can’t be totally sure how it will go, but that’s the same for all the teams. We have a slightly different car to the one we would have raced in Australia, but we’ll have the answers this week.
“We’ll focus on ourselves; we know the midfield will be quite tight, but the target is to give a better showing at this circuit than last year and then we’ll see where we end up. I’ll be giving it my all and I’m sure everyone at the team will do the same.”
Ricciardo has etched his name onto silverware around The Red Bull Ring only once with his sole podium finish coming in 2017 where he crossed the line third.
Renault will also be hoping for a significant improvement over their lacklustre performance last time around. Neither driver scored points and both struggled with pace all weekend.
The Austrian Grand Prix weekend begins with Free Practice this Friday with the race set to kick off from 1.10 am Monday, July 6.