The first race of the new Formula 1 season is always a poignant and exciting event, but for Daniel Ricciardo, it means a great deal more given that he will be racing at his home grand prix.
Ricciardo is the only Australian driver currently racing in F1, and did the home fans proud in 2014 by finishing on the podium in his first race for Red Bull.
He was eventually disqualified due to a fuel irregularity, but this did not stop the 25-year-old from enjoying a sensational year that saw him finish third in the championship with three race wins.
Now, with his home grand prix just eight days away, Ricciardo is relishing the prospect of getting back on track and kick-starting Red Bull’s 2015 on home soil.
“I’m just excited to finally go racing again,” Ricciardo said. “And for me it’s fun. Obviously I’m really privileged having it at home, but in any case, it means it’s a start to a new year. There is always new motivation and I think it’s exciting.
“Testing has been relatively good for us. We had a few reliability issues but we racked up a lot of miles and learned a lot. I still feel that we have a bit more to go. But there is no better place to do this than going racing. I’m ready to go.”
The Australian Grand Prix is always a well-attended event, and Ricciardo is delighted to be heading back down under for the start of the 2015 season.
“I love going home and the fresh air really gives me that home feeling,” he said. “I spend so much time now away from Australia, that anywhere in Oz feels like home really. It’s the cars, the accent, the food and the weather.
“The whole vibe and atmosphere is just amazing. It’s busy and there is always something going on. The track is fun. I’ve always liked street circuits. I think it’s a great and fast flowing circuit.”
The 2015 F1 season gets underway with practice for the Australian Grand Prix on March 13, with the race taking place two days later.