Daniel Ricciardo made the switch from Renault to McLaren last season. The Australian driver rode alongside Lando Norris and had a rocky start with the British team. His English teammate had more than double the number of points at the start of the summer break. According to Ricciardo, his first half of the season was sometimes laughable. After the summer break, he recorded his first victory at the Monza circuit in the service of his new employer. It was also McLaren’s first win since 2012.
We are not seen as a real person
In particular, the fact that Ricciardo was unable to see his family and friends due to the travel restrictions in Australia made it a difficult period, but this situation has made him appreciate more things outside of Formula 1. In an interview with, among others, Motorsport.com says the McLaren driver that not being able to see family and friends probably made him feel homesick for the first time. “Homesickness sounds a bit dramatic, but I missed my family terribly,” said Ricciardo. “Normally we had the privileged situation where I said, ‘I’ll buy you a ticket, take the plane and come here’. The fact that this couldn’t be done made me quite frustrated. I was out of control.”
When asked whether Ricciardo thinks such emotions are often overlooked among F1 drivers, he answers. “Yeah, it is. Anyone who’s in the spotlight or on television is not seen by the outside world as a real person. When you’re an actor it’s like, ‘Oh, that’s Brad Pitt. He is superman. He can do anything. He doesn’t get sad or emotional’. However, we travel so much that we really miss our family and friends.” According to the former Red Bull driver, it does not have much effect on his driving. “But if things don’t go very well, it certainly has an effect. It is precisely then that you want support and love from your family. When things get a bit more difficult, you can also feel alone. They could have helped me in certain areas. For example, if I was feeling bad or had a dip.”
Whether his difficult start to the season was entirely due to missing his family, Ricciardo finds it difficult to say. According to the Australian driver, it made the overall situation more difficult. “The following applies to everything: if you want to perform well, it has to be right in your head,” continues the driver from Perth. “It is important that business [buiten de sport] went well. For example, when it comes to relationships. Everything has an effect on your training, energy and mood. I’m used to not having family and friends around me. But now I could completely escape Formula 1 or think about something else. That made the first half of the year even more difficult. It was harder for me to get more energy and to become more positive. I eventually found a way, but I had to work a lot harder for it. That [hele proces] was taxing in itself.”