Ricciardo ‘raring to go’ for F1 season start

Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo is ‘raring to go’ as the 2020 Formula 1 season gets set for its opening round in Austria this weekend.

It marks the beginning of a busy period for the sport, which will take in eight races in quick succession across Europe.

That includes a second visit to the Red Bull Ring next weekend, the first time in world championship history the sport has visited the same venue twice in a season.

“I’m raring to go,” said Ricciardo.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve raced or even competed properly in anything.

“It’s getting close now and I had a good taste for it with the test in Austria earlier this month.”

Ricciardo and his new team-mate for the coming season, Esteban Ocon, were in action at the Red Bull Ring two weeks ago, driving a 2018-spec Renault R.S.18.

It was the first time either driver had been in an F1 car since per-season testing ended in February.

Since then the sport has attempted to get going in Australia, only for the event to be cancelled in the hours leading up to opening practice.

Over the COVID-19 enforced hiatus Ricciardo also revealed that he will depart Renault at the end of the season.

The current campaign will therefore be his second and last with the Anglo-French team.

“It’s about getting back to business,” Ricciardo said of the weekend ahead.

“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.”

A seven-time race winner, Ricciardo’s best result in 2019 was fourth at the Italian Grand Prix.

That came as Renault lost ground in the midfield fight, slipping behind McLaren to fifth in the constructors’ championship.

While Ricciardo has been waiting since February for the season to get underway, Ocon is set to return to the grid after a year on the sidelines.

Recruited in place of Nico Hulkenberg, Ocon spent two years with Force India (Racing Point) before finding himself benched last season.

“It’s been a year and half of waiting to be on the Formula 1 grid again, so I’m very excited for this first race,” the Frenchman said.

“It feels fantastic to be starting the season. We have set our targets; we know what we want to achieve on track, and I know what I have to do behind the wheel.

“A lot of work has gone into preparing for this first race, I’m with a great team, driving a competitive car and I’m certainly hungry for it.

“I’m looking forward to it, and we’ll be targeting coming away with points.”

Two practice sessions on Friday are set to open the 2020 F1 season ahead of final practice and qualifying on Saturday.

The Austrian Grand Prix then gets underway on Sunday from 23:10 AEST.