Ricciardo keen to see full grid

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Published: Thursday 30th October 2014 by The News Editor

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Daniel Ricciardo believes the demise of Caterham and Marussia would represent a bitter loss for Formula One.

In the space of the past week both teams have entered administration and will miss the next two races, in the United States on Sunday and Brazil the following weekend.

For the first time since the 2005 Monaco Grand Prix only 18 cars will line up on the grid at the Circuit of the Americas.

It has led to serious questions being asked as to the direction of the sport when two teams with limited budgets can be allowed to go to the wall.

More importantly, for many drivers like Ricciardo, they also represent a stepping stone to a drive with one of the leading marques.

As a product of Red Bull’s young driver development programme, the 25-year-old Australian served part of his apprenticeship with the now defunct HRT for the second half of the 2011 campaign.

HRT was one of three new teams that entered the sport in 2010, but it may be that none of the trio will be around for 2015.

“For sure my six months with HRT were, as far as on track results go, not successful,” assessed Ricciardo ahead of a demo run on the streets of Austin in Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel’s 2011 title-winning car.

“But for me it was a really good thing for getting me settled into F1. It was definitely a good stepping stone.

“It allows you to learn under the radar. You’re in the spotlight of F1, but not so much in the spotlight if you’re running towards the back.

“Just for numbers in general we always like to see more cars on the grid.

“I remember being in Formula Renault in 2008 and we had 40 entries. There’s nothing like seeing a full grid even if some are slower than others. It’s a great spectacle.

“So from that side, and from the driver development side, we need more cars and more teams. It would be a shame if they are a permanent loss.”

For his part, Vettel at least recognises the sport’s increasing costs have played a part in the downfall of both marques.

“If they’re not here then we’ll miss them because it is always nice to see a lot of cars on the track,” said Vettel.

“It’s getting less and less, which is not a nice progression.

“But we’ve seen over the years how some of the smaller teams have struggled to find the money, find the budget to manage their season.”

Vettel, meanwhile, is almost certain to skip qualifying ahead of the race at the Circuit of the Americas.

Red Bull are set to change the complete power unit on Vettel’s car, which incurs a penalty of a pit-lane start.

Even if Vettel qualified on pole, he would still be demoted to the pit lane, so making it pointless for him to take part in qualifying.

Published: Thursday 30th October 2014 by The News Editor

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