McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo says he wants a double-header event in Melbourne if Formula 1 is unable to head to Sao Paulo due to a rise in coronavirus cases.
The Australian Grand Prix is currently set for November 21st, after being postponed from its traditional March slot thanks to COVID-19. This postponement has meant the AGPC has managed to carry out upgrades to the Albert Park circuit to make it more suitable for modern day Formula 1 racing.
The Sao Paulo Grand Prix is slated for two weeks before Melbourne, on November 7th. However, due to a rise in coronavirus cases in Brazil, the race, along with the Mexico and United States races, are under a question mark as to whether they will actually happen
Daniel Ricciardo has said in a recent interview that if Brazil is unable to host the race, Formula 1 should consider a double-header at Albert Park in November.
“I am aware of Brazil currently is not in a good place with COVID. 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, but if it’s still as it is then that that race could potentially be in question,” Ricciardo said in the interview.
“They’re obviously keen on 23 this year. 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 doubleheader in Australia!”
Ricciardo himself was heavily involved in the upgrades surrounding the Albert Park circuit. He, along with respected Australian racing drivers such as Mark Webber and Mark Skaife, gave input into how the changes would affect the racing so the organisers could upgrade it in a way it would positively affect racing in all categories that race there.
The one problem Formula 1 faces with Australia, is the very strict border rules surrounding entering and exiting the country. The Australian government is very hard-line on keeping COVID out of the country, something which might bring Ricciardo’s idea crashing back down to Earth.
“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. Hopefully, we get a bit of time in Aus as opposed to quarantine, circuit. I know all the drivers love going to Melbourne for the race,” he said.
“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.”
It could give Ricciardo the opportunity to drive a car around Bathurst, something which we covered in an earlier article. It would open up the possibility of McLaren bringing an F1 car to Bathurst for the Australian to drive as Jenson Button did in 2011.