Daniel Ricciardo hasn't been able to get home to Australia in over a year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and has explained that he feels homesick as a result.
The McLaren driver, who splits his time between Monaco and a home in Los Angeles, hasn't been able to return to his native Australia due to travel and quarantine restrictions since before the 2020 Formula 1 season began.
“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," Ricciardo told Motorsport Magazine.
“Absolutely I am 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, rather than focusing on the negatives of that situation, Ricciardo explained that he's concentrating on finding how he can turn that homesickness into something beneficial. To that end, he said that ensuring his time isn't being wasted is the best way to make the most of it.
“The positive of that is that it does fuel me and it does motivate me. I’m like, right, if I am making these sacrifices and I am being away from family and friends and missing events and even family is getting older and grandparents and all that, life goes on… So if I am over here missing important things, which I value a lot, then I am like ‘Right, well I better make this right and make it work otherwise it’s all for nothing’.
“So I use that as fuel, 100%. 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.”