Daniel Ricciardo says the extended break from F1 action hasn’t made him soft, instead it has “reiterated” his love for the sport.
Teams and their drivers are now gearing up for the series’ return with the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix on July 5.
And Ricciardo says Formula 1’s extended absence has proven very positive for him, and reminded him just how special the sport is to him.
In an F1 Instagram Live interview he said: “If anything it’s more fuel to the fire, it was nice to have some alone time, time to think and process.
“It’s certainly fuelled my desire more. I’ve missed racing more than ever, missed competing, missed the limelight, all the stuff that goes with it. I’ve missed it all.
“Not that I’ve lost love for it at all. It’s just reiterated my love for competing in the sport and my job.
“We travel so much and you go, and you go, and you go, but sometimes you don’t really get a chance to stop, and it was, in a way, nice to be forced to stop for our bodies, not being in pressurised cabins all the time and all of that kind of stuff.
“From a performance point of view, it’s maybe given me a couple more years on to my career, so I see positives in it.”
After two rounds in Austria Formula 1 will head to the Hungaroring for the Hungarian Grand Prix before two races at Silverstone.
Spain, Belgium and Italy then complete the eight-race calendar which has been agreed so far.
Portugal are then in contention to host multiple rounds if the European phase needs to be extended, as are Imola, Mugello and Hockenheim.
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