Daniel Ricciardo believes a 10-race season would be enough to crown a legitimate Formula 1 World Champion in 2020.
Only eight races are on the calendar for this year so far after the campaign was decimated by the global health pandemic, with the action due to get under way with the Austrian Grand Prix on July 5.
More events are sure to be added for the autumn/winter months, with the aim being to reach 16 or potentially 18 to complete as full a schedule as possible.
But even if the season barely reaches double figures in terms of races, Ricciardo thinks that would still render a “legit” World Champion – albeit the campaign would probably go down with an asterisk against it in the record books.
On the assumption that at least 10 races will take place, the Renault driver, in quotes carried by Autosport from the Australian Grand Prix Corporation’s new In the Fast Lane podcast, said:
“Right now, I’d say it is legit.
“If we only did four or five races, yeah maybe [not] so. But if we get anything from kind of 10 and above, there’s enough races there to figure out who the champion is, in my mind.
“Obviously the atmosphere is going to be different around the paddock without fans, at least for the first part of the season, but the reality is we are all racing. The same drivers, the same cars.
“For me, the competition isn’t going to change.”
While excited to go racing again after seven months without a grand prix, Ricciardo admitted he is not relishing the practicalities of being regularly tested for COVID-19 over the course of the race weekends.
“One thing I am sure of, because I’ve already experienced it, is the whole COVID testing with the nose swab… that’s not fun,” he added.
“And we have to get that probably another 30 times this year. I didn’t enjoy that at all. That’s something I know is going to happen and certainly not something I’m looking forward to.”
Head over to your provider of choice to listen to Episode 13 of the PlanetF1 podcast, or simply press play below.