Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo kicks off his 2019 season with his home race in Australia, with the added excitement of making his race debut with his new team.
Having swapped from Red Bull Racing to Renault for 2019, Ricciardo says he was already excited to get started with racing for the French team. However, added to that excitement is the pressure of racing in front of his home crowd as the first race of the year takes place at Albert Park in Melbourne.
“It’s an exciting thought that my first race for Renault is my home Grand Prix.” beamed Ricciardo.
“There’s always so much hype at the start of the Formula 1 season, and this has been amplified by me joining a new team. I’ve had this date circled since I announced I’d be signing with Renault and I’m looking forward to getting race week started. It’s been a long winter with a lot of theories and speculation going around, but the race track is where we settle all that.”
“We had a good winter test, I’m growing happier every time I step into the car and the first race will be especially exciting. I feel comfortable within the team; walking through the garage, stepping into the car all feels cool and real now.”
Ricciardo is famously cool under pressure and says that the weight of expectation on his shoulders as the only local hero for the crowd serves more as his motivation, rather than being a burden: “I know the Australian crowd will be out there supporting me as the sole home representative on the grid. Hopefully there will be a sea of yellow in the grandstands and that will be really motivating.”
“There’s going to be a lot of expectation and attention on us, but we’re remaining realistic with what we have set out to achieve. That doesn’t deter from the fact we’ll be giving it our best shot. The midfield will be close, but we’re chipping away towards closing the gap to the top. The first race is the first chapter on this journey and I’ll be pushing as hard as ever to ensure we do ourselves proud.”