Ricciardo: “Not easy” to make friends in F1 life

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Formula One is certainly filled with glitz and glamour, but Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo knows another truth about the F1 life: It can be tough to find a pal.

“You try to make friends along the way but it is not easy,” the Australian driver said in a James Phelps-penned piece for today’s Sunday Telegraph (Sydney, Australia).

“The friends you tend to make are drivers because you spend most of your time at a track…But in this business, you are one out a lot of the time. It is hard to make friends because of all the traveling we do and how busy we are. I am never in one place at one time and it is impossible to build a network of friends.”

Ricciardo tells Phelps that he has a good rapport with Infiniti Red Bull driver and fellow Aussie Mark Webber, but that he doesn’t always get along with all of the other racers on the grid. In addition, he constantly checks in with family from Down Under – some of which will see him compete next weekend at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

The Perth native has been looking to take himself and Toro Rosso farther up the pecking order in 2013, and a good opening round in front of his relatives (and his countrymen) would be a solid first step.

But while he’ll be raring to go for his home event, it sounds like he’s looking forward to post-race even more.

“That is the hardest thing, missing my family and mates,” he also said to the Telegraph. “I don’t get to see them much, but this week a few of them are coming from Perth. But honestly, my only chance to see them will be on Sunday night when it is all over.

“I can’t wait to catch up, because I don’t know when I will see them again.”

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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