Ricciardo eyes Melbourne double-header


With a number of races almost certain to be cancelled this year, Daniel Ricciardo suggests a double-header at the revamped Albert Park circuit.

While stoically sticking to its guns in terms of a 23-race schedule, the continuing uncertainty over the pandemic is almost certain to see a number of races cancelled.

Despite media reports that Canada won't happen, there is still no official word from the promoter or indeed FOM (Formula One Management), even though the race is just six weeks away. Indeed, we understand that teams had to send their freight to Canada by now (24 April).

The fact that its contract has been extended until 2024 is a sign that Japan probably won't happen this year - the new deal possibly a move to appease investors ahead of when the race is officially cancelled - or Singapore, Mexico or Brazil.

While Australia's borders are currently closed to most international visitors, the country sharing a safe travel zone with New Zealand, it is unclear how the country stands in terms of quarantine for the likes of the F1 circus.

That aside, with Brazil almost certain to cancel, McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo believes that the Albert Park Circuit - which is currently undergoing extensive modifications to make it faster and improve the racing - could host a double-header.

"I am aware that Brazil currently is not in a good place with COVID," said Ricciardo in an interview with Trevor Long from EFTM.com. "I think, if we were scheduled to go there this weekend, then yeah, I'm pretty convinced it would be up in the air.

"For now, they're kind of on the hope that by then things settle down," he continued, "but if it's still as it is then that race could potentially be in question.

"They're obviously keen on 23 this year," he added. "A bit like last year, I'm sure there are maybe some circuits, call it, that could fill some gaps if some are lost.

"We'll see, maybe a double-header in Australia. If there is any, let's say, form of quarantine when we get there, to do a double-header at least would make the time worthwhile."

The Australian Grand Prix is scheduled for 21 November, two weeks after Interlagos is due to host the Brazilian Grand Prix.

"Hopefully we get a bit of time in Oz as opposed to quarantine (and then the) circuit," said Ricciardo. "I know all the drivers love going to Melbourne for the race.

"In Australia, everyone knows how beautiful it is, so if I called all the drivers right now and said, ‘Hey, what do you feel about spending two weeks in Australia?' I'm pretty sure none of them are going to whinge and moan".

Having previously expressed a desire to drive the Mount Panorama track, a double-header in Melbourne could present the perfect opportunity.

"That'd be fun if we come to Australia for a period of time," he admitted. "If we did a double-header or something, and we had the luxury of time in Australia, absolutely.

"I might have to run it by (Zak), but I have already actually so I'll remind him."

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Published: 26/04/2021
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