Coronavirus: Ricciardo hopes for July start to delayed F1 season

Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo hopes Formula One 2020 can get going in July, or perhaps in Montreal.

Daniel Ricciardo, waiting out the crisis on his farm near Perth, Western Australia, believes a dramatic season-opener is in prospect at the Red Bull Ring.

Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo would relish the chance to start the season with the Canadian Grand Prix, which on June 14 is the next race on the initial calendar that has not yet been rearranged.   -  Getty Images

Daniel Ricciardo admits there is still huge uncertainty over the 2020 Formula One season but hopes to be racing again by July.

The first eight scheduled grands prix of the year were either cancelled or postponed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

F1 organisers hope to stage at least a revised season of 15 to 18 races, which could finish as late as January 2021, as Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto suggested at the weekend.

READ | Ferrari boss Binotto expects January finish to F1 season

However, it appears unlikely that the sport will return for several weeks and Ricciardo, whose Renault team officially entered a three-week shutdown on Monday, told talkSPORT: "I've kept in contact with the team and we're just trying to figure out what is going on.

"I'm also aware that no one really has a hold of this virus yet. We are predicting maybe July we will get going, but, really, who knows?"

Ricciardo would relish the chance to start the season with the Canadian Grand Prix, which on June 14 is the next race on the initial calendar that has not yet been rearranged.

"I'd love for it to get started at home [in Melbourne] but knowing what I know for now, I don't think Montreal has been cancelled yet and that is the next one on the list," he said.

"I love Montreal as a city and a circuit; it's one of my favourite grands prix. So, if we could start there, that would make my day."

ALSO READ | Drive to Survive 2 review: Old heroes thrive while F1 giants hop on Netflix bandwagon

There was huge confusion around the planned curtain-raiser in Melbourne this month, with the race only called off when McLaren withdrew three days before after a crew member tested positive for coronavirus.

"It was weird being there, and even on Thursday I was preparing myself to compete that weekend," Ricciardo remembers.

"But I was never certain it was going to happen; I knew there was a slight risk it could all get pulled last minute.

"The bombshell for me was really when I went to bed on Thursday night, and just before I went to sleep I saw McLaren had pulled out of the race, because of the case within their team.

"I then stayed up for probably another three hours trying to fish out a bit more information, but I knew then we weren’t going to race without a full grid.

"To be honest, I was no longer comfortable with it either; I was like, 'Look, this is the first race of the season, either we are all in it or we're not, that's just how it is'."

Support Sportstar


Dear Reader,

Support our journalism — where text and pictures intermingle so seamlessly — and help us scale up your experience as the world changes around us. Your contribution is vital to our brand of uninfluenced, boots-on-the-ground reportage that’s worth your while. Clickbait sensationalism is not for us, but editorial independence is — we owe it to you.

  Dugout videos