Daniel Ricciardo thinks that the current, drawn out period without racing could allow him to have a longer career.
Ricciardo would have been preparing for the seventh grand prix of the Formula 1 season tonight in Monaco had that round and several others not been postponed or cancelled due to the pandemic.
Instead, he went home to Western Australia shortly after the Australian Grand Prix was cancelled and has only tested since the 2019 season finale in Abu Dhabi at the start of December.
The Renault F1 Team driver has, however, been able to undertake a more rigorous fitness program developed by his trainer, Michael Italiano.
With at least seven months from his last race to the next, Ricciardo suggests that the downtime will be good for his health and could extend his time in F1.
“We’ve been able to really knuckle down and set up a real training programme that we never really get,” he told BBC Radio 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.”
Mercedes-AMG’s Lewis Hamilton has expressed similar sentiments, referring to the suspension in competition as a ‘part-sabbatical’.
Ricciardo also pointed out that F1 drivers do not necessarily have time to train a lot during the season, especially between back-to-back races.
“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,” he noted.
“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.”
Ricciardo’s first race back, under present plans, will be at Austria’s Red Bull Ring on July 5.