Daniel Ricciardo is heartbroken not to be racing in his home country this season after the Australian GP was cancelled.
The race organisers announced on Tuesday morning that the November race would not go ahead due to ‘restrictions and logistical challenges relating to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic’.
Formula 1 had been in talks with the local government about a biosphere as the sport could not adhere to a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
Unable to reach an agreement, the race, which had initially be postponed from March to November, was called off.
Formula 1’s sole Australian driver, Ricciardo, is gutted.
“Hi everyone,” he said in a video released on Twitter. “I normally smile but it’s hard.
“Obviously I’m really gutted that we’re not coming back home to Aus this year, or I’m not coming home.
“For the others it’s not their home, but I know everyone enjoys the Australian Grand Prix and coming to Melbourne.
“It hurts that we haven’t been there now for two years but we’ve got to look forward and hope that 2022 works out and we can get home.
“I think the main thing is that everyone keeps their chin up. Hopefully, everyone stays well, stays healthy.
“It’s heartbreaking but hopefully, we can see you all soon.”
— F1 Australian Grand Prix (@ausgrandprix) July 6, 2021
It was the second time in two years that the Covid-19 pandemic had forced Australian organisers to cancel their grand prix.
The McLaren driver added: “It’s a huge disappointment for all of the drivers that we won’t be coming down to Australia in November, but we understand the reasons.
“For me personally, I can’t wait to have the chance to race at home again, and it’ll be even sweeter when we do because it’s been so long.
“Fingers crossed things can change for 2022 and we get to see the awesome fans at Albert Park again and put on a good show for them.”
Former Australian F1 driver Mark Webber was also disappointed to hear the news.
“I’m shattered that we can’t hold a Formula 1 event in Australia for another year,” he said.
“It’s a real shame as we’re world class at pulling these types of events off as an organisation.”
Formula 1 is still hoping to hold a 23-race season with CEO Stefano Domenicali saying there are “options” available to replace the Australian GP.