Australian superstar Daniel Ricciardo has opened up on the overwhelming feeling that leaves him “low” on the Formula 1 circuit.
Australian F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo says building healthy relationships within his McLaren team is essential for eradicating overwhelming feelings of homesickness during the season.
Due to the sport’s relentless calendar, which features 22 races in 2021 alone, Ricciardo rarely gets an opportunity to return home, particularly during a global pandemic.
Since F1 made its long-awaited return in July 2020, the Perth native has spent countless days in hotel quarantine and strict biosecurity conditions.
And the gruelling calendar shows no signs of easing, with a record 23 races set to be announced in the 2022 season.
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Ricciardo therefore believes maintaining relationships with his McLaren team is not only essential for morale, but helps ease the pain of homesickness.
The Australian says he tends to feel particularly low during the competition’s “triple-headers”, when three races occur over three consecutive weekends.
“You have to be able to fall back on your teammates to help you when you’re feeling a little down or when you’re missing home,” he said, as reported by the Dutch arm of GPFans.
“We are often away from our family for a long time, especially during the ‘triple-headers’. So I think it’s important for the team when everyone has a close bond with each other.
“I know for myself how much I miss home and my family on race weekends. If you then have a number of close friendships within the team to fill that void, it works well.”
Ricciardo previously said the mid-season break was essential for him to replenish ahead of the second leg of the 2021 championship, and the 31-year-old proved that was the case by winning the Italian Grand Prix last month.
The eight-time Grand Prix winner is also eager to socialise with his McLaren team outside the F1 paddock once Covid-19 restrictions soften.
“A social life outside the paddock is also important during a race weekend,” Ricciardo said.
“That helps to relieve stress and homesickness and it also means that you get to know everyone better.
“I hope that the world opens up further, so that we can also do fun things with the team off the track. Socialising and the occasional dinner out.”
Ricciardo is currently eighth on F1 drivers’ standings with 95 points.
The F1 season resumes next weekend with the United States Grand Prix, which is scheduled to get underway on Monday, October 25 at 6am AEDT.