Usually not one to get excited for testing, Daniel Ricciardo is very much up for it this year as he lays eyes on the 2022 cars.
A new Formula 1 season always begins to start feeling much more real when the cars hit the track for first time, but there is special intrigue surrounding the 2022 season considering the raft of changes since the chequered flag fell on Abu Dhabi in 2021.
The challengers for 2022 are looking far different to the 2021 models due to the overhauled regulations, while the 13-inch Pirelli tyres have been retired for new 18-inch models for the 2022 campaign.
These new cars have now hit the track as a group for the first time in Spain, with the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya holding a three-day shakedown event.
Usually, this is the kind of stuff that has Ricciardo wishing for a skip button so he can get to the season proper.
But this time around, the McLaren driver is loving the chance to check out the rival cars and seeing what the other teams have come up with at the start of this new regulatory era.
“The more years you do, the less excited you are to test and the more excited you are to go racing,” he told reporters at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
“It’s definitely the most excited I have been in a while to go winter testing.
“The curiosity to see what direction teams have gone in and just visually, the cars look really cool.
“Just the whole stance of them this year as well. We saw, for a long time, high rear ride heights and this sort of stuff.
“It all seems to be a different way for this year. Even seeing the different philosophies around, that’s cool.
“Even stuff like renders compared to real, it’s quite exciting to see the cars on track and how they actually look for the first [time].”
Ricciardo is entering his second season with the McLaren team, looking to build on a first campaign which, although it brought a victory at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, was otherwise something of a slow burner as the Australian fought to extract performance from the car.
He will be hoping for a stronger 2022 in the MCL36.
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