Daniel Ricciardo has made his targets clear for his upcoming home Grand Prix at Albert Park, with the Australian looking to score a podium when the season gets underway on March 25.
Ricciardo told Speed Week prior to the RB14 car launch that Aston Martin Red Bull Racing is working firmly behind the scenes in order to be in the best possible position from the get-go at Albert Park.
The Milton Keynes squad cost itself a shot at the Drivers’ and Constructors’ champion crowns in 2017 with poor early-season performance and a lack of reliability in the later stages of the year. When the package did work, Ricciardo and teammate Max Verstappen combined to claim three race wins and a further 10 podium finishes to claim third outright in the standings, but a long way behind Mercedes and Ferrari.
“This year we want to be in good shape from the beginning,” Ricciardo said.
“We want to be on the podium in the first race. We are working hard with the aerodynamics and if our calculations are correct, then we will be in good shape in Melbourne and fighting for a place in the top three.”
Although testing hasn’t commenced yet for drivers and teams alike to understand where they sit in the mix with rival teams, both Ricciardo and the Australian Grand Prix organisers are excited to finally get things kicked off again after an enduring off-season break.
Australian Grand Prix Corporation CEO Andrew Westacott explaining that Ricciardo’s recent form has helped fill grandstands as well as giving the Australian event an increased buzz.
“With just five weeks to go, we’re in the strongest sales position in a decade and I think this is a direct result of the buzz around Formula 1, both here in Australia and globally and how the event has developed in recent years,” he said.
“This sales result is a reflection on a number of key factors, including but not limited to Daniel’s performance throughout the 2017 season – one of his most consistent yet, the anticipation for the opening round of the season and the high quality product that’s on offer to all fans attending.
“Daniel claimed nine podiums in 2017 and we would love nothing more than for him to be standing on the top step here in Melbourne come Sunday afternoon.”
Image via Aston Martin Red Bull Racing