Although Daniel Ricciardo left his native Australia around 15 years ago to fulfill his dream of motorsport, he says that he felt homesick for the first time in 2021. This is due to the corona pandemic and the travel restrictions in his home country.
Ricciardo has not been home since the Formula 1 season ended its long lockdown break in July 2020 and has not seen his parents since then. The McLaren driver is spending this winter in Australia again, even if he previously had to endure a quarantine.
“I will stare at the ceiling of a hotel room for two weeks”, he announced at the season finale in Abu Dhabi. It was worth it to him.
Because “probably for the first time” he felt homesick: “Homesickness sounds dramatic, but I definitely missed my family and everything,” he says. Usually that wasn’t a problem for him, because Ricciardo could always easily buy plane tickets if he wanted his parents there.
But his money doesn’t really help him in the corona time. “The fact that we couldn’t do that anymore was pretty frustrating because it’s out of our control,” he says.
The human aspect is often not seen
Such personal stories are often overlooked in Formula 1, says Ricciardo. You only ever see the races and that the drivers drive the fastest cars and earn a lot of money, but the human aspect is often missing: “It’s like everyone in the spotlight or on TV. The outside world doesn’t always see them as real people. “
“As with actors, ‘Oh, this is Brad Pitt. He’s Superman. He can do anything or whatever.’ It’s as if he never gets sad or emotional. And we travel so much that we also miss our loved ones. And in these times it’s ten times more difficult, “said the Australian.
Ricciardo had a difficult season in terms of sport and did not seem to be getting in step at McLaren at all. He denies that the problems while driving would affect him himself. “But especially when things don’t go well, it definitely has an effect. Because then you just want support and the love of your family,” he says.
Crisis would have been easier with a family
“And when things don’t go well, you can also feel very lonely. There are things that they would have helped with if they had been here. Then they would have helped me to get out of the bad mood or the low a little faster.” said the McLaren driver.
Although he doesn’t want to attribute his bad start to the season to the lack of his family, Ricciardo also knows that the head is very important for a good performance. “Your life outside has to be good. It all affects your training, your energy, your mood.”
He is used to not having his family and friends around, but not for that long. In addition, he couldn’t just do something to distract himself from Formula 1. “I didn’t have this refuge,” says Ricciardo.
“That made the difficult first half of the season even more draining. It was difficult for me to be pumped full of energy and positivity. I still found a way, but had to work harder for it. And that was also quite exhausting.”
With images from Motorsport Images.