Ricciardo: Ten-race 2020 season would be ‘legit’

Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo says a 2020 season limited to just ten races would be “legit”, meaning the championship would crown a worthy driver.

Formula 1’s chiefs have worked tirelessly to reconstruct a calendar destroyed by cancellations and postponements due to the coronavirus crisis.

So far, an opening stretch of eight European races has been confirmed, and commercial rights holder Liberty Media is confident of adding at least another seven events, be they in Europe, Asia or in America.

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However, should fears of a resurgence of the pandemic become a reality in the back half of the year and wreak havoc on F1’s contingency plans, the title could be decided on just ten races, therefore devaluing the achievement. But Ricciardo disagrees with such an assessment.

“Right now, I’d say it is legit,” Ricciardo said speaking on the Australian Grand Prix Corporation’s new ‘In the Fast Lane’ podcast.

“If we only did four or five races, yeah maybe so. But if we get anything from kind of 10 and above, there’s enough races there to figure out who the champion is, in my mind.

“Obviously the atmosphere is going to be different around the paddock without fans, at least for the first part of the season, but the reality is we’re all racing. The same drivers, the same cars.

“For me the competition isn’t going to change.”

Formula 1 will experience an unprecedented situation next week in Austria, with each team restricted to its own safe environment, or hygiene bubble, in the paddock, while life in the garage will be managed by strict protocols and procedures.

Team personnel, including drivers, will be tested for COVID-19 before their arrival at the Red Bull Ring and on site, every five days. Ricciardo has no choice but to comply with the testing measures but the Aussie isn’t looking forward to the discomforting experience.

“One thing I am sure of, because I’ve already experienced it, is the whole COVID testing with the nose swab… that is not fun,” he said.

“And we have to get that probably another 30 times this year. I didn’t enjoy that at all. That’s something I know is going to happen, and certainly not something I’m looking forward to.”

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