Daniel Ricciardo says that starting the season with Toro Rosso, and therefore having a car he can fully call his own, has boosted his motivation for his forthcoming Formula 1 campaign.
The Australian, 22, had previously tested for the team on grand prix Fridays last year, before landing a seat at HRT for the final 11 races of the year. While not downplaying such experience, Ricciardo says starting the season for Toro Rosso means he can focus on every little detail of the car and the setup, giving him renewed impetus.
"There's a bit more motivation now that it's my car for the season, which makes you focus 110 percent on every little detail," he explained. "It's a bigger deal than last year.
"Even when I was a test driver, the car is not yours. Now the car is built around you, and you have the comfort of being the driver. It's a nice feeling to have my own car – I'm not sure I'll name it like [Sebastian] Vettel, but I will look after it. When something is yours, you get that bit more serious – that's just natural."
Ricciardo said it had not been hard to adapt from HRT to Toro Rosso, and said he had been pleased with his first day of running at Jerez.
"It's obviously a new car, but there is still a lot [of similarities] from last year in terms of driveability and what the car is doing. Nothing really took me by surprise [on Tuesday], and I'm generally pretty happy with the install and how the car was behaving.
"I knew what I could do and, after blowing out a few cobwebs, I got into a good rhythm. It was pretty productive, and we pretty much kept up with our program. The afternoon was cut a bit short but generally, and with a new car, you can't complain.
"We did mostly hard tire runs all day and that was pretty good, too – we didn't get a real long run as planned, but on the shorter runs the tires seemed to be working well and even in cool conditions we seemed able to generate heat. I've got today [Wednesday] too, so I'm sure we'll get a few more laps and give it a good run."