Ricciardo 'homesick' but hopes for 'even sweeter' 2022 Australian GP return

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Daniel Ricciardo hopes the extended wait for a home race will make the 2022 Australian Grand Prix "even sweeter".

This week it was confirmed the race at Melbourne's Albert Park, originally rescheduled for November, would not go ahead this year due to ongoing Covid-19 travel restrictions.

Now, local officials have also confirmed a date in April next year is being discussed rather than the traditional March slot.

But the moment F1 does return to Australia can't come soon enough for Ricciardo.

"It’s a huge disappointment for all of the drivers that we won’t be coming down to Australia in November, but we understand the reasons," said the McLaren driver via social media after the cancellation was confirmed.

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"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.

"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."

After last year's race in Melbourne was cancelled just hours before practice was due to begin, Ricciardo stayed in Australia, spending the lockdown on his farm in Perth.

However, since returning to Europe, he hasn't had the chance to return, making this the longest time he's spent away from home in many years. 

“I left last year after the quarantine, I think my flight was June 1, so it’s been over a year now since I’ve been home,” he told Motorsport Magazine.

“Absolutely I’m missing home and missing family and friends. So that can certainly get me down. That’s the negative part of not being home for so long.

“Other drivers, even if they don’t live at home, they’re probably 30 minutes away from home or they’re a quick flight if they’re based in Europe like most are. So they’re able to see family and friends so much easier.

“But then the positive of that is that it does fuel me and it does motivate me," he admits. "I’m like, right, if I’m making these sacrifices and I’m being away from family and friends and missing events and even family is getting older and grandparents and all that, life goes on.

“If I’m over here missing important things which I value a lot, then I’m like ‘right, well I’d better make this right and make it work, otherwise it’s all for nothing’.

“Even like training the last week, I was home in Monaco and I had a really good week training and honestly, a lot of the mental situations I put myself in were these sorts of things and that would push me harder.

“I do like using it for the right reasons, but this year will probably be the first year since I left home back in 2007 when I’ll actually get homesick, I’m pretty aware of that.”