Photoshooting the F1 Show Run is always a thrilling experience for me as I was visiting the India for the second time. In contrast to Sea Link and Mumbai, this visit to New Delhi and historical Rajpath was something trully worth remembering as Red Bull Junior driver Daniel Ricciardo raced the Red Bull Running Showcar down the iconic Rajpath, the ceremonial boulevard for the Republic of India, in New Delhi in front of 60,000 fans.
With the Rashtrapati Bhavan and India Gate serving as backdrops on either side, this historic moment signaled the last lap of Red Bull’s activities in the lead up to the 2011 Formula One Grand Prix of India.
Red Bull Racing fans, Formula One enthusiasts and other onlookers thronged the streets to catch a glimpse of the Red Bull Racing Formula One car, which Ricciardo fired down the stretch at speeds of over 200kmh.
Keeping up with Ricciardo were the Ghost Ryderz – India’s top professional stunt bike group, who impressed the crowd with a mix of jaw-dropping wheelies and stoppies. Some of India’s best drivers also took to the tarmac in their Renault Koleos, balancing acceleration and braking perfectly. That resulted in synchronized formations, screeching tyres and plenty of burnt rubber.
Afterwards, Daniel said: ‘It was a proud moment for me to be the first F1 driver to race down the Rajpath. Today’s drive was truly exhilarating, especially with legions of cheering fans lining the road. I’ve never seen anything like this before!
I can also say as Daniel said it: I’ve never seen anything like this before, because India is very specific land with very specific people, but to me it represents more than just a challenge for photoshooting. Every visit to this country is different. Incredible India!
From New Delhi we move to Himalayas but stay in India. The next project is a big task for all of us who are a members of the F1 Team that will bring the F1 Show Car on top of the Himalayas and the highest motorable road on the planet – Khardung La at 5600 m!
WHO IS DANIEL RICCIARDO?
A product of Helmut Marko’s young driver scheme, it’s simply a matter of time until Daniel Ricciardo lines up on the grid in a car with a Red Bull (or Toro Rosso) painted on the side, but for now he is gaining early experience with HRT, having started the 2011 season as permanent test and reserve driver for Toro Rosso featuring in every Friday practice.
Ricciardo’s career started in karts at the age of nine – driving in championships across his native Australia – before making the step up to Formula Ford aged 15. He was cash-strapped during his early years and had to make do with a decade-and-a-half old Van Diemen in his debut season, which he drove to eighth overall.
In 2006 he graduated to Formula BMW where, with the help of a scholarship, he was given a gleaming new car and finished third in the Asian championship. He quickly progressed to Formula Renault 2.0 the following year and caught the eye of Red Bull, going on to win the Western European Cup in 2008.
He rewarded Red Bull’s faith with title success in the competitive British Formula 3 championship in 2008, taking six wins and six pole positions from 20 races. By that time he had been earmarked for the top and became a regular face at the Red Bull headquarters in Milton Keynes as well as topping the 2009 young drivers’ test at Jerez in the RB5.
Continuing to scale the rungs on the motorsport ladder, he looked set for success in Formula Renault 3.5 in 2010 but converted just half of his eight pole positions into wins. As a result he missed out on the title by just two points to Mikhail Aleshin after going into the final all square. He recovered his pride at the 2010 young drivers’ test where he set an all-new lap record at the wheel of Sebastian Vettel’s championship-winning RB6, eclipsing the pole time set the previous weekend.
He was due to have another shot at the Formula Renault 3.5 title in 2011, alongside his Toro Rosso commitments, but Red Bull wanted him to gain Formula One experience. With both Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi performing well at Toro Rosso, Red Bull secured Ricciardo a race seat with HRT mid-way through the season and he made his debut at the British Grand Prix.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Impressive raw pace, Ricciardo tested a Red Bull at the Abu Dhabi Young Drivers Test in 2010 and was 1.3 seconds quicker than Sebastian Vettel’s pole time from the previous weekend. Inevitable comparisons with Vettel add pressure however, and his debut at Silverstone was uninspiring.
Winning the British F3 championship at the first attempt – earning him his first Formula One test.
Losing out to Mikhail Aleshin in the final round of the Formula Renault 3.5 series in 2010, being passed by the Russian on track in the final race to miss out on the title by two points.
“It’s a dream come true for me – for the first time on an F1 starting grid! I had to pinch myself a couple of times to be sure that it’s real.”
Ricciardo stars in an upcoming Red Bull television series called ‘Destination One’, which follows his career path in to Formula One.