Daniel Ricciardo says it doesn’t matter that it’s his home Grand Prix this weekend, he just wants to get back racing again.
The Red Bull Racing ace hasn’t driven a car in anger since last November at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but will get the chance to go racing once again at this weekend’s curtain raiser in Melbourne, Australia.
As the home crowd hero, Ricciardo will face extra attention throughout the race weekend, which gets underway on Friday, but the Australian admits the first race could have been anywhere and it wouldn’t have affected his enthusiasm.
“I’m ready to go,” he said. “I was ready in January and I’m still ready now! Just keen for those lights to go out and to get racing.
“I think everyone’s excited to get going, but even if the race was elsewhere I think there’s no-one more excited than me to go racing.”
Ricciardo shared testing duties with team-mate Daniil Kvyat during the two four-day sessions in Barcelona last month.
Having developed their own engines, based on a Renault, for the forthcoming season, Ricciardo believes the RB12 is better suited for the opening rounds than it’s predecessor.
He said: “Testing’s been a lot better for us this year. You still don’t really know where you are until you get to Melbourne, but we’re better prepared than we were this time last year so we can use that as some confidence.”
Kvyat, entering his second season, is also keen to get the season started, and believes he can improve on his seventh place in 2015.
He said: “I think compared to this time last year, I’m feeling a lot more confident and comfortable in the team, I know everyone a lot better and everyone knows me, so it’s good that we start off the season with this kind of confidence.”
The first practice session of the Australian Grand Prix gets underway at 1:30am on Friday morning.