Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo reckons Formula 1’s prolonged winter break due to coronavirus might enable him to extend his career in the sport.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has forced the opening 10 races of the 2020 F1 season to be postponed or cancelled and has resulted in an unforeseen, extended break for the drivers.

F1 hopes to get the new campaign underway in early July in Austria, by which point drivers would have gone over seven months since they last raced competitively in Abu Dhabi last year, and five months since pre-season testing took place in February.

Ricciardo, who recently said he expects the first race of the season to be “chaos” following the prolonged spell without racing, is making the most of lockdown to be in peak physical condition by the time F1 resumes.

“We’ve been able to really knuckle down and set up a real training programme that we never really get,” Ricciardo told BBC 5 Live.

“You get it at the start of the year, but once you get back to Europe and the travelling starts, it’s so hard to get any routine and consistency.

"Where now we’ve been able to build like an eight-week block as we’d call it, and starting to see some really good improvements. It’s just nice to have that time.

“I think part of it is the training, and being able to have this amount to condition my body, and I think the icing on the cake of that as well has been we haven’t been jumping timezones, we haven’t been locked in pressurised cabins for three days per week up in the air.

“I think the benefit is going to be really nice, and because it’s so unique, I think it was really important to maximise this. Who knows, it might give me a bit more longevity in my career.”

The Australian revealed F1 drivers have a lot less time to train than believed once the season is underway, which is why he is utilising the current hiatus to boost his physical wellbeing.

"Probably everyone thinks Monday you’re back in the gym and you’re training Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, then you get to the track and whatever,” Ricciardo explained.

“But back-to-back is a little bit of conservation mode as well. You want to be fresh for both weekends, so a Monday would look like a rest day, no real strenuous training, you might do some stretching or like a yoga type of day.

“Tuesday you might go for a bit of a run and just keep a few things ticking over, but you’re doing like a light session on Tuesday. Then you’re probably travelling again on Wednesday.

“So you think you might have a week, four or five days between races, but it’s actually really just one day to do something, and the other two are either travelling or resting.”

 

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