Daniel Ricciardo wants to be completely prepared by the time the Australian Grand Prix arrives and is hoping to get plenty of laps under his belt in the upcoming pre-season tests held at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona.
The Aussie is one of the pre-season tips to fight for the 2017 World Championship against his teammate Max Verstappen and Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. Ricciardo has stressed the importance of running for long periods in pre-season testing, and has had to train to peak fitness so he can get the most out of the upcoming shake-down of the RB13.
“The first thing you’re looking for is reliability. There are so few test days available. You know track time is important for the car, for development, but it’s also important for us physically.
I know that my pre-season has been the best I’ve had in terms of physical preparation but it’s still not driving a race car. I’ll arrive fit and conditioned but the first day in the car is still going to hurt because your body is going through different things, things it hasn’t been through in a long time.
You want to do the laps for yourself, so that you get that race fitness.”
– Daniel Ricciardo
Regaining race-sharpness is an additional gain to be had in the pre-season tests. These F1 drivers haven’t been in the cockpit of an F1 car since November. The RB13 will be launched on February 26th, with the tests starting the following day and concluding on March 2nd. The second test in Barcelona will take place between March 7th-10th, leaving just over two weeks to apply anything gained before the commencement Australian Grand Prix.
Ricciardo is hoping that he gets a strong feeling from the RB13 early on, adding,
“After the reliability is settled you want to go through a corner and feel it in your bottom that it’s a fast car.
Once you do one flying lap, you get an idea. It’s just the way it brakes and turns – you just know. Hopefully, it’s a good feeling, that first timed lap.”
– Daniel Ricciardo
The Aussie was one of the most consistent points finishers in the 2016 season and will be hoping to find a similar consistency in the RB13. Here are the top ten most consistent points finishers of 2016:
The Circuit de Catalunya is the perfect venue for pre-season testing given the nature of the circuit. Lots of high speed corners will give drivers like Ricciardo an early indication as to how well the new car can retain balance under extreme forces. There is a lot expected of the RB13, the energy drinks giant is in the pre-season lead to bring the fight to Mercedes.