Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP and Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Renault Sport F1 during a press conference ahead of the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix 2020 at the the Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne, Thursday, March 12, 2020. (AAP Image/Scott Barbour) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP and Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Renault Sport F1 during a press conference ahead of the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix 2020 at the the Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne, Thursday, March 12, 2020. (AAP Image/Scott Barbour) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY

Ricciardo: Only thing that will make 2020 champ ‘legit’

DANIEL Ricciardo says this year's rebooted Formula One season needs to be held over at least 10 races for it to be considered "legit" and without an asterisk next to the champion's name.

Speaking ahead of the Formula One relaunch in Austria next week, the Australian star said he believed this year's championship would still be legitimate - if enough races could be held.

Formula One has so far announced the first eight races of its new 2020 calendar, which will open with back-to-back races at the Red Bull Ring.

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When the new calendar was announced, F1 said it hoped to stage 15-18 races before the season was completed in December.

Ricciardo was confident there would be enough races held to determine a true champion.

"Right now I would say it's legit," Ricciardo said on the Australian Grand Prix Corporation's In the Fast Lane podcast.

"If we only did four or five races, maybe (there would be an asterisk). But I think if we get anything from 10 and above there is enough races there to figure out who the champion is in my mind.

Daniel Ricciardo believes this year’s champion could be forever tainted. Picture: AAP/Scott Barbour
Daniel Ricciardo believes this year’s champion could be forever tainted. Picture: AAP/Scott Barbour

"Obviously the atmosphere is going to be different around the paddock without fans at least for the first part of the season.

"But the reality is we are all racing, the same drivers, the same cars and for me the competition is not going to change."

After his home Grand Prix was abandoned in March, Ricciardo returns to the track for his second season with Renault, having already signed a new deal to race for McLaren from next year.

Ricciardo revealed his time in isolation spent on his farm outside Perth gave him clarity to help make the decision to switch teams before a race had even been held this year.

"Although we didn't have a whole lot of data so to speak, not having done any races and to see kind of any live performances, we did have a lot of alone time and a lot of time to think and digest," the seven-time Grand Prix winner said.

Daniel Ricciardo prepares to rev-up. Picture: Charles Coates/Getty
Daniel Ricciardo prepares to rev-up. Picture: Charles Coates/Getty

"I was out on the farm and Perth is isolated enough let alone the farm, which is very, very isolated. At least I did have the benefit of my own head space and a lot of time to think about everything really. I would go and talk to some cows and sheep and ask for their advice.

"It was not easy to come to conclusions and figure out what is best for the future and I guess time will tell what the right or wrong decision was."

Discussing the new F1 "bubble" the drivers and teams would face for their return, Ricciardo said he was not looking forward to the frequent COVID-19 testing he would have to undergo.

"One thing I am sure of, because I've already experienced it, is the whole COVID-testing, the nose swab - that is not fun and we have to get that another 30 times this year," Ricciardo said.

"I did not enjoy that at all, that's something I know is going to happen and I'm certainly not looking forward to.

"I think for the most part we will miss the chaos of it all. Even when I was out on the farm … there were moments even out there where I was like 'I do miss the chaos, I do miss the limelight and all that'.

"I'm sure Austria and the first however many races without spectators and the circus it's not going to feel as good as it once did."



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