Will Power says he’s hoping Formula One star Daniel Ricciardo can emulate his IndyCar success and make it an Australian double in 2014.
The IndyCar championship is finally in his grasp and Will Power says he wants Daniel Ricciardo to make it an Australian double in 2014.
Ricciardo has emerged as a genuine threat to Mercedes pair Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in his first full Formula One campaign with Red Bull Racing.
The affable West Australian secured his third grand prix victory of the year in Belgium last month, closing within 64 points of series leader Rosberg after the German and Hamilton fought amongst themselves at Spa.
While Rosberg’s margin and the speed of the Mercedes’ cars mean Ricciardo is still a long-shot from the title, his rivals’ in-fighting and feuding could allow the in-form Australian back in to the hunt.
The 2014 Formula One campaign also ends with a double-points race in Abu Dhabi, offering 50 points to the race winner, making any margin smaller than it looks on paper.
Power, the first Australian to win a major international championship on four wheels since Alan Jones secured the 1980 F1 title, says he’ll be cheering for Ricciardo over his off-season.
“Ricciardo’s done a phenomenal job this year,” Power told Sky Sports Radio in Sydney.
“Being teamed up with Sebastian Vettel – a four-time champion – he’s definitely showed him the way.
“If he wins that championship that’d be a fantastic effort.”
Power admitted his last two weeks had been hell as he battled the demons of being a three-time championship runner-up in the build-up to Sunday’s 500-mile finale in California.
But the 33-year-old, who also had to overcome a broken back from a crash in 2009 to claim the IndyCar crown, says he can’t wait to return to the track in 2015 to defend his title.
“It’s such a release now,” Power said.
“I’m pretty happy where I am in IndyCar. I’m driving for the best team.
“It’s just enjoyable where I am, the team I’m at. It’s a lot of fun.”
WILL POWER’S JOURNEY TO INDYCAR GLORY
2002 – Wins Formula Holden Australian Driver’s Championship
2002 – Makes V8 Supercars debut as co-driver for Mark Larkham at the Queensland 500 and Bathurst 1000 races
2004 – Races a full British Formula 3 season and tests a Minardi Formula One car in Italy
2005 – Competes in Formula 3.5 series. Finishes 2nd in inaugural A1 GP Series for Australia. Makes Champ Car debut in final two races of the season at Gold Coast and Mexico
2006 – Competes in first full Champ Car season. Wins rookie of the year title
2007 – Claims first Champ Car race win with Team Australia in Las Vegas
2008 – Wins final Champ Car race at Long Beach before championship is merged with IndyCar championship
2009 – Replaces Helio Castroneves at Team Penske on a temporary basis, competing in 16 IndyCar races including a win in Edmonton. Suffered a broken back in a serious accident at the Sonoma raceway in California
2010 – Finishes second in IndyCar championship after first full season with Team Penske, winning five races but losing the title on the final day
2011 – Wins six races but again finishes second in IndyCar championship with death of Dan Wheldon at season finale in Las Vegas forcing the event to be cancelled
2012 – Crashes at final race in Fontana while leading IndyCar championship. Finishes 2nd for third year running.
2013 – Claims three wins from final four events to finish 4th in IndyCar championship, including first full-length victory on an American oval circuit
2014 – Wins IndyCar championship by 62 points from Helio Castroneves, winning three races including another oval victory in Milwaukee.