Yesterday, a first draft of the 2022 calendar was issued by Formula One. Yet to be formally announced, and with some events subject to contract, or circuit homologation like the newly appointed Miami GP, it features a record-breaking 23 races, taking place from March to November, including seven double-headers and two triple-headers in the second half of the season.
Daniel Ricciardo talked about the importance of bonds and relationships with teammates and coworkers, which get even more vital in such a packed schedule, that will force all the staff away from home for weeks in a row:
“I think it’s really important for the team to have close relationships within other members of the team, because [we’re] away from families for long periods of time, especially the triple-headers. You need to rely on your team-mates to help you out if you’re a little down or missing home, or whatever it is.”
The Australian driver, who has also had troubles returning home in the past year due to covid regulations, added that he hopes to have more chances to interact with his (relatively new) McLaren teammates:
“I really hope next year the world keeps opening up and we can interact more with the team, and it’s not just at the track, but do some [social] events, do some dinners."
With the 2022 season set to be as time-consuming as this year's, team bonding out of the workspace could be extremely helpful in coping with being away from home for so long:
“I think that having that social life outside of the paddock on a race weekend helps break up the weekend as well. That’s an important time to switch off and just ease some of the stresses of the travel and the homesickness or whatever it is.”
“I know how much I personally miss home and miss family, so having some close members in the team to fill the void is really important," he summed up.
Ricciardo also recalled the pre-Covid team dynamics, hoping that those will be replicated next season, if the illness proves to be less of a threat, as it's "important" to have a stronger bond with the people he spends the most time with:
"I do miss these team dinners and things that we can do. Obviously, it’s harder now with COVID, but I do miss doing that. Just getting to know the people you travel the world with as well, 23 weekends a year, I think that’s also important."
“It’s kind of cool and nice to know as well; we all know we have F1 as an interest, but other things in life, like what makes us tick? What get us up out of bed when we’re not on a race weekend? Building these relationships I think is not only fun and enjoyable but it’s important," he concluded, hopeful for the future.