Ricciardo meets fans ahead of Aussie F1 Grand Prix

Daniel Ricciardo meets the fans. Picture: Barnsiesphotos
Daniel Ricciardo meets the fans. Picture: Barnsiesphotos

Duncraig’s Daniel Ricciardo has spent the morning with the fans ahead of this weekend’s racing in Melbourne and a defence of the Australian F1 Grand Prix remaining as the season opener.

With the cars not out on the track until tomorrow, Ricciardo joined drivers on the Melbourne Walk where they arrive at the back of the pits and spend time signing autographs and posing for pictures with fans.

Australian Grand Prix Corporation chief Andrew Westacott has no plans to give up the coveted position as season opener and says the 4.10pm race start time works well with global television audiences.

“As far as I’m concerned that’s its permanent spot,” he said.

“We’ve got a contract that says that we’re the first race and that runs until 2023.

“We have a really strong partnership with Formula 1.

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“I’m looking forward to continuing the dialogue to make sure that it stays in Melbourne … my view is it’s certainly not going to go across the border into New South Wales.”

But track detractors say it presents drivers with few overtaking opportunities, which can adversely affect the spectacle for fans.

Formula 1 is doing its part to modify the cars and the rules to encourage more contested racing and Westacott’s corporation is investigating tweaks to the circuit.

“We never sit still so we’ve got to evolve our track,” Westacott said.

“It’s going to need a resurface in the next few years anyway.

“It’s actually 24-years-old and never been resurfaced so if we’re going to resurface it let’s work with Formula 1 with their simulators and track analysis and see if there are some things that we can evolve.

“There’s a lake there, there are ovals there and buildings, so we’re talking about subtle adjustments that can improve the racing.

“It might be tweaking some of the turns, it might be the width of some of them.

“It might be the entry angles or the camber.”