'Really gutted': Daniel Ricciardo shattered over F1 cancellation

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·Sports Reporter
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Daniel Ricciardo won't race at home in 2021 after the Australian GP was cancelled.
Daniel Ricciardo says he is 'gutted' at news the Australian Grand Prix has been cancelled for the second year in a row. (Photo by Mario Renzi - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo says he is 'heartbroken' over the news the Australian Grand Prix has been cancelled for a second year running.

Concerns over teams being required to complete two weeks of hotel quarantine ultimately lead to the Albert Park race scheduled for November to be scrapped.

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It comes after the race, which was originally scheduled to take place in March this year, was postponed due to a coronavirus outbreak in Victoria earlier this year.

Ricciardo will have to wait until 2022 to compete in his home grand prix, with many fans shattered by the news the race would not go ahead.

Similarly, the Phillip Island MotoGP event has been cancelled.

Ricciardo told the Sydney Morning Herald he was incredibly disappointed by the news.

“For me personally, I can’t wait to have the chance to race at home again, and it’ll be even sweeter when we do because it’s been so long," he said. 

"Fingers crossed things can change for 2022 and we get to see the awesome fans at Albert Park again and put on a good show for them.

“I normally smile, but it’s hard. I’m really gutted we’re not going back home to Oz this year.

“I’m not coming home, for the others it’s not their home – but I know everyone enjoys the Australian Grand Prix and coming to Melbourne. 

"The main thing is that everyone keeps their chin up, everyone stays well and stays healthy.”

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Ricciardo is in the midst of a difficult first season with McLaren, trailing teammate Lando Norris handily in the drivers championship.

However, the Western Australian star turned in an impressive performance at the Austrian GP last weekend which his team hopes is a sign of him turning a corner.

Quarantine concerns behind F1's Australian GP cancellation

Victorian Sports Minister Martin Pakula said Formula One and MotoGP management needed assurances this week that Australia was unable to deliver on.

He said the country's low vaccination rate and slash international arrivals had forced their hand.

"Formula One and MotoGP required assurances and undertakings and guarantees this week about the conduct of those events," Pakula said on Tuesday.

"There's a few months to go, but they need to plan, and they need to have contingencies in place.

"Given the very low national two-dose-vaccination numbers, and given the decision of National Cabinet on Friday, we're simply not in a position to give F1 management or MotoGP the sorts of guarantees and assurances and comfort that they need.

"I had a conversation with the CEO of Formula One management Stefano Demetocarli last night and it was a very cordial conversation.

"We have an excellent relationship and I fully expect that these events will occur in 2022."

Andrew Westacott, chief executive officer of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, and chairman Paul Little announced the cancellation of this year's race alongside Victorian Sports minister Martin Pakula. (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)
Andrew Westacott, chief executive officer of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, and chairman Paul Little announced the cancellation of this year's race alongside Victorian Sports minister Martin Pakula. (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)

Australian Grand Prix Corporation chair Paul Little said talks would soon start about an April race, meaning Melbourne will lose its prestigious season-opening status.

"We are thinking April is a date that we would like to be able to make some positive moves on at this point," Little said.

"We need to see what vaccination rates are like and what the federal government does with visitation rights and off the back of that we will know a lot more if April is viable.

"There are no guarantees."

The Australian Grand Prix Corporation presented a COVID-safe plan to the government, arguing the event could be run safely with the drivers and crews operating within a bubble.

Drivers and their large crews were reluctant to go into hard quarantine, measures which allowed international tennis players to compete at the Australian Open earlier this year.

With AAP

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