Ricciardo: The season ahead is something I’ve been looking forward to my whole life

Daniel Ricciardo at Jerez

Daniel Ricciardo at Jerez

The 2014 Formula 1 season is arguably the most important year in Daniel Ricciardo’s life as it will determine his future. Super-stardom may beckon but so too may obscurity. The ever smiling Australian spoke on the occasion of the launch of the Red Bull RB10.

It’s all change in F1 this year. You’ve a very different car to contend with and a new team. How big a challenge is this season going to be for you?
“The season ahead is going to be very challenging, but very exciting. It’s something I’ve been looking forward to for a few months now; my whole life in a way as well. It’s another big step in my career. With all the rule changes, it’s exploring new ground, so it’s challenging for everyone, but I’m sure we’re all ready and excited. I think it’s a good time to change team what with all the changes happening in F1 in 2014. I think it’s going to level things out and give me the best chance possible to shine…I hope!”

You’re racing alongside a four-time World Champion. How do you feel about that?
“I’m really excited to be alongside Sebastian this year; he’s achieved so much, in so little time as well. To be a four-time World Champion is an amazing thing and I have a lot of respect for that and a lot of respect for him. I’m hoping to learn as much as I can, and hopefully challenge him of course.”

Daniel Ricciardo with Sebastian Vettel during the launch of the Red Bull RB10

Daniel Ricciardo with Sebastian Vettel during the launch of the Red Bull RB10

In the past your helmet has featured a graphic of a creature called the Honey Badger. Are you keeping that this year and what does it mean?
“It’s supposed to be the most fearless animal in the animal kingdom. When you look at it, he seems quite cute and cuddly, but as soon as someone crosses his territory in a way he doesn’t like, he turns into a bit of a savage and he’ll go after anything – tigers, pythons – he turns very quickly, but he’s a good guy.”

Are you prepared for just how crazy things might get in Australia? Does the level of attention you might receive scare you at all?
“I’m prepared and excited. It’s going to be something I’ve never experienced before. Being the sole Australian driver and having moved up to the top team on the grid there’s going to be more attention around me. I’m aware of that and I just have to use it to my advantage. There will be a lot of positive energy and I have to surround myself with that and use it on track.”

What are your expectations of your first season at the team?
“‘Expectations’ is not a word I like to use that much, I think it can create a bit of an illusion. I definitely want to get the most out of myself this year, so the way I see it is that instead of having expectations, I don’t want any regrets. I would like to finish this year with some victories – that would be great – but knowing that I put everything on the table, that’s my aim.”

How did it feel to see that car being built today?
“Seeing all the team around the car being built today was an exciting moment. It gives me a few goose bumps, knowing that the car is now mine to use to my full potential this year, so that’s exciting and definitely a proud moment.”

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