Daniel Ricciardo believes the changes made to Melbourne’s grand prix circuit means the race will be “totally different” to previous events.
The Albert Park layout has been modified for the first time in its 26-year history, with the entire track resurfaced, and several corners amended.
The biggest change has been the removal of the old Turn 9/10 chicane, creating a new fast sweeping section alongside Lakeside Drive.
“Not taking credit but I was a little bit involved in the talks about redeveloping the circuit a few years ago when they had the first idea of what to do to try and make the racing a bit better,” Ricciardo said during an event with select media.
“Because it’s always been a fun track, but on Sundays it has been a little bit tricky for overtaking just through the layout and the nature of it.
“So really the idea was to try and open up and just make Sunday a bit more exciting (and allow) more overtakes.
“I think as a race now you’re going to see a totally different Sunday here in Melbourne.”
The Australian Grand Prix has typically been Formula 1’s season-opening round but for 2022 has been installed as the third event, with its April date the latest since the event moved to Melbourne in 1996.
It is the first time since 2010 that Australia has held a Formula 1 race that hasn’t been the first round, but Ricciardo says he is unbothered by its place in the schedule.
“Honestly now that we’ve missed it for a couple of years I’m just thankful that it’s on the calendar,” he said, referring to the late 2020 cancellation and subsequent absence in 2021.
“So right now it doesn’t really bother me where it is, as long as we’ve got an Aussie Grand Prix then I’m happy.
“I’m honestly not fussed, whether it’s first, third or tenth, as long as it stays on and we get to come back then I’ll take that.”