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Ricciardo pleased with Albert Park modifications: “It’s going to be good”

Daniel Ricciardo is sure that the changes at the Albert Park Circuit for this year’s F1 race will be good. The Australian will make his first race in orange at his home race in 2021. (Photo by Joe Portlock/Getty Images)

The postponed Australian GP will bring major track updates for the 2021 season. Daniel Ricciardo sees the changes to his home racetrack with anticipation and is confident that they will be good and happy to have given input to them.

Ahead of the event which was planned to be held on the weekend of the completed pre-season testing, but postponed because of the Coronavirus pandemic, the McLaren driver told the media, that “a bunch of us drivers were consulted on the changes and I was happy about that.” Overall he admires that the drivers could give their opinion on the changes at Albert Park and that they were asked to provide ideas in a group of drivers, which Ricciardo belonged to as well.

“We were allowed to give our thoughts and input. Not all drivers will be aligned of course, but one thing we can agree on is we want to make Sundays, race day, better.” The 2021 race day in Australia is set to be the debut in orange at the 31-year-old’s home Grand Prix. For 25 years the Albert Park exits and will undergo its first resurfacing ever for this year’s Formula 1 race.

The Grand Prix weekend is set to take place on the 21st of November and will include a circuit which’s lap time is expected to be five seconds faster due to the changes. Ricciardo evaluated that the races on Sunday were his main focus when he gave his input considering the changes. “I had [the bettering of Sundays] in mind when I had my input. Widening some of the apexes, creating more of a straight in some places to allow for an opportunity for more slipstreaming… that was the priority, and I’m very confident it’s going to be good”, said a very anticipatory McLaren driver.

“Every street circuit is a challenge.” Still, he pointed out the differences for the Albert Park Circuit and continued saying that it is “[…] pretty fast, which only adds to that. There’s a lot of fourth and fifth-gear corners and it’s pretty narrow at certain parts. It’s been somewhere that had been hard to overtake typically because of that width, and because it’s so fast in these cars, it’s even trickier to follow through the high-speed corner sequences.”

So the 7-time F1 race winner explained his input with implementing the difficulty to overtake around Albert Park. His ideas included “[…] changing some of the apexes and creating some more room, allowing more chance to make a diving overtake, or even change your line to get out of the dirty air, I think it’ll really help.”

However the removal of the tricky chicane of turn 9 and 10 saddens Ricciardo, as he called them one of the trickiest challenges of the track in recent years. Still he is fine with changes, expressing that “removing Turns 9 and 10 is a compromise.”

Addressing his former words to that section, he carried on: “Turn 10 was always pretty challenging because you’d be exiting close to the wall – but the last couple of years, the cars are so good now that the traction out of 10 is pretty easy and the wall wasn’t really a threat anymore. The car didn’t run out there as aggressively as it used to. So removing that chicane, you’re now going to have a massive tow out of Turn 6, which is going to be good with the additional DRS zone.”

Despite the track renovation at his home race-circuit having pros and cons, Ricciardo is looking forward to the race in November and is sure, that the changes will make the racing around Albert Park even more entertaining – especially on Sundays.

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