Ricciardo confirms plan to avoid Australian GP burn-out

Andrew van Leeuwen
motorsport.com
Ricciardo confirms plan to avoid Australian GP burn-out
Ricciardo confirms plan to avoid Australian GP burn-out

The Aussie admitted after last year's Albert Park race that the hectic promo and media schedule, as the hometown hero, had left him drained before even getting in the car.

While not blaming the commitments – which included driving a Supercar for Castrol and filming TV adverts for Renault – on his first-lap run-in with a gutter, he did vow to work towards a lighter pre-race schedule or future Australian GPs.

He's now confirmed that will be the case for next month's trip to Melbourne, with hopes a more streamlined approach can lead to a decent haul of points to kick start his season.

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"It kind of builds up every year," he said. "With Melbourne, Mark Webber used to say it's a bit of a love/hate because obviously it's great having a home race and being home, but it's just so intense that you feel like what you're there to do, it's taken away from you because you've got so many other commitments and attention.

"A lot of it is positive, so you can't push back on everything because everyone's just interested and curious in, normally, a positive way.

"But at the end of the day, we rock up to race, and since the second or third of January we're preparing our body, our mind, to that point, to Race 1. To go there and feel like that a per cent here, a per cent is taken away from you with with other commitments, it's kind of frustrating.

"Obviously that was compounded with the race last year; I don't blame, obviously, the race on that. But would I say I was fully clear-minded and energetic come Sunday? No. So it's just to try and do that better.

"I will turn to the question in a short way, I will do less this year. And just try to do enough that I'm treated like every other driver that week, and hopefully [I can] get the season started in the points and [the media] have something good to write about after the race."

Ricciardo joked that a compromise, to suit both him and local media, may be skydiving straight into his Renault's cockpit before the first session.

"I'm going to skydive in Friday morning. Just straight into the garage," he laughed.

"I got my skydiving ticket over Christmas and I'm planning to land perfectly inside the cockpit and just get out on track. That would be cool.

"The media would love that actually, that would tick a lot of boxes."

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