Ricciardo ‘wasn’t comfortable’ racing without McLaren

Date published: March 31 2020

Daniel Ricciardo

Contemplating an Australian Grand Prix without McLaren on the start grid, Daniel Ricciardo has revealed he wasn’t “comfortable” with the idea.

Formula 1’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix was plunged into chaos barely 12 hours before the start of first practice when McLaren announced that a staff member had tested positive for the coronavirus.

That led to the team withdrawing from the grand prix, citing a “care of duty” to everyone involved.

The Formula 1 team bosses met with the Australian GP organisers and Liberty Media to vote on whether to continue with the grand prix weekend or not.

The initial vote was tied, however, after Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff spoke with the Daimler bosses in Germany, he reported changed his vote leading to others doing the same.

The teams voted not to race in Melbourne, the announcement coming just two hours before FP1 was set to get underway.

It brought to an end a night of confusion, not only for the media and the fans who were flocking to the circuit but also the drivers.

Speaking to TalkSport, Ricciardo explained that while he was initially excited to get his home race underway, once McLaren withdrew it didn’t feel right racing with just 18 cars.

“It was weird being there, and even on Thursday I was preparing myself to compete that weekend,” he explained.

“But I was never certain it was going to happen; I knew there was a slight risk it could all get pulled last minute.

“The bombshell for me was really when I went to bed on Thursday night, and just before I went to sleep I saw McLaren had pulled out of the race, because of the case within their team.

“I then stayed up for probably another three hours trying to fish out a bit more information, but I knew then we weren’t going to race without a full grid.

“To be honest, I was no longer comfortable with it either; I was like, ‘look, this is the first race of the season, either we are all in it or we’re not, that’s just how it is’.”

Following the Australian GP’s cancellation, Bahrain and Vietnam were postponed as too were Holland, Spain and Azerbaijan.

Monaco has been cancelled with Canada currently the first race of the 2020 F1 championship.

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