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Ricciardo "wouldn't be against" permanent Australian GP date change

Ricciardo "wouldn't be against" permanent Australian GP date change

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Ricciardo "wouldn't be against" permanent Australian GP date change

Ricciardo "wouldn't be against" permanent Australian GP date change

Daniel Ricciardo has said he would not be against the Australian Grand Prix losing its position as the Formula 1 season opener.

This year is just the fourth time since the race moved from Adelaide to Melbourne in 1996 that it will not host the opening race of the campaign.

Due to reasons surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, the race has been postponed to November 21 to sit as the third last race on a currently record-breaking 23-grand prix calendar.

Reflecting on the change, speaking to Melbourne newspaper The Age, Ricciardo said: "The most important thing for the fans and for me personally is that we have a race, but if it moved to later in the year permanently, I wouldn't be against it.

"I was more hoping we'd be able to start the season at home and at the end of last season, I was pretty sure we'd be in Melbourne for the first race.

"But then you see the [Covid-19] numbers at home and what's now happening in Europe, and you could see that it was going to be less likely.

"In the end, if we're going to have the Australian Grand Prix we all want, we had to do it this way."

In 2006 and 2010 the Bahrain Grand Prix was run as the season-opener whilst the heavily revised calendar last year gave the honour to Austria.

Conceding "there's something cool about my home race being the first race," Ricciardo added there are benefits to racing on home soil later in the year.

"Instead of me not knowing or speculating how I'll go or how the season will go, we'll know how I'm going, how McLaren is going, and we'll know how competitive we are," added Ricciardo.

"This year, we have the Mercedes engine to get used to, I'm getting settled into a new team with hardly any testing … we weren't going to be anywhere near our best in Melbourne if it was in March, so personally I'm more confident we’ll be stronger in November."

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