Daniel Ricciardo believes the human emotions Formula 1 drivers feel are often overlooked by those on the outside.
The Australian was unable to visit his family in Australia or have them come to see him as often as usual during the 2021 campaign due to travel restrictions in place as a result of the global pandemic.
He has spoken a number of times about feeling homesick for the first time during the campaign as a result, and feels drivers having such emotions often gets overlooked.
“Yeah, it does. I think with anyone in the spotlight or anyone on TV, sometimes to the outside they are not seen as, like, real people,” he said, quoted by Autosport.com.
“It’s like, if you’re an actor…oh, that’s Brad Pitt. He’s superman. He could do anything or whatever. Like he doesn’t get sad or emotional or whatever. But as you know, you guys would feel it, we travel so much that you do miss loved ones. So having that kind of times 10 is tricky.
“I wouldn’t say it affects me in the act of driving. But particularly when maybe it doesn’t go well, then it definitely has an effect because all you want is some of that support and family love. And also when it doesn’t go well, you can also feel very lonely.
“There are elements which I think they would have helped, if they were here. It would have helped me to snap out of a bad mood or a low moment a bit quicker.”
Daniel Ricciardo after his poor first half of 2021:
"It’s nearly laughable in some ways. So let’s just f*** it off, jump on a plane and just not care about F1 for two weeks."
— PlanetF1 (@Planet_F1) January 3, 2022
The 2021 campaign was arguably the most difficult of Ricciardo’s F1 career as he struggled to get to grips with his new machinery at McLaren and was often firmly second best to his team-mate Lando Norris.
He does not want to blame such struggles on missing his family, but has no doubts it played a part.
“With anything, to perform well you also need to be in a good headspace,” he added.
“Therefore your outside life needs to be going well, your relationships. It kind of all reflects on to your training, your energy, your mood.
“I’m used to not having [family] around. But again, not having that for so long, and missing things and even my friends back home, not having them to even switch off with, get away for a weekend or let’s go wherever, let’s just get away and not think about F1, I also didn’t have that escape.
“That made the grind of the first half of the year just more taxing. So I think it was harder for me to be like pumping with energy and positiveness and all that sort of stuff.
“I still found a way to, but I had to work a lot harder for it. And that I think was taxing in itself.”