West coast life hits spot with Ricciardo
DANIEL Ricciardo visited Los Angeles for the first time about five years ago after his cousin moved there, and the Renault driver quickly realised he felt right at home.
He even bought a big house in the Hollywood hills last year. Though Formula One keeps him in Europe for most of the year, the Australian star gets away to LA whenever he can.
“Immediately, it just resonated well with me,” Ricciardo said while standing in the middle of Hollywood Boulevard, his ever-present grin even broader than usual.
“The weather. Having the beaches close by.
“I feel like you can escape the madness of it all, but you can easily slip into it. There’s always something happening here. You never get bored.”
Ricciardo relished the chance to bring his sport to his home away from home yesterday when he joined Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull Racing teammates Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon for Formula One’s Hollywood Festival. The drivers showed off their F1 cars along a closedoff section of the famed boulevard in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.
The star-strewn sidewalks along the street were thronged with thousands of fans craning for a glimpse of the drivers whose sport has worldwide popularity, but makes a relatively small imprint on the lucrative US market. With the United States Grand Prix in Texas this weekend, the drivers were eager to raise F1’s profile on the West Coast.
“F1 is popular all over the world except really America, but that’s just because they have a lot of other sports around here which are very popular, so it’s very hard to compete,” said Verstappen, 22.
“More races would help, or having an American driver.”
Ricciardo and Verstappen see several reasons to think Formula One will get bigger stateside in upcoming years. Along with the steady growth since 2016 of the American Haas F1 Team, the American owners of Formula One are attempting to add a second USbased race in Miami.
The race faces significant obstacles and local opposition ahead of its proposed 2021 start, but F1 CEO Chase Carey has said he is committed to pursuing it.
Formula One held a street course race in Long Beach, California, from 1976 to 1983.
The United States Grand Prix West was popular among teams and fans, and its winners included Niki Lauda, Nelson Piquet, Gilles Villeneuve and Mario Andretti.