Australian superstar Daniel Ricciardo was in Melbourne today to launch the 2015 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix, as the event prepares to celebrate a milestone of two decades in Melbourne on 12-15 March.
Ricciardo took to the steps of the iconic Flinders Street Station, posing for photos alongside a Formula One car in an Australian Flag design, as excitement builds ahead of the event.
The spectacular Albert Park street circuit will again play host to the season opener of the 2015 FIA Formula One World Championship - withthe V8 Supercars once again part of the line-up - and Ricciardo believes the opening weekend in Melbourne is easily the most anticipated of the year.
"The Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix is pretty much the best way to start the season for me. It's one of my favourite events, not just because it's on home soil but because it's the first race, the first time you really get to put everything on the table and see where you stack up," Ricciardo said.
"The last year has been an incredible year for me, I couldn't have wished for a better start to my career with Infiniti Red Bull Racing. The fans and the support we get at the Australian GP is incredible and last year I definitely felt it on track. I'm looking forward to getting out there already - I'm excited!"
The Minister for Tourism & Major events, the Hon. John Eren MP, was also in attendance - he said the event is a proud part of Victoria's major events calendar.
"As the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix prepares to stage its 20th consecutive race since it came to Melbourne in 1996; there is no question that the event holds huge value to the State. This significant milestone is a timely reminder of how truly entrenched this event is in the social, cultural and sporting fabric of the city," Minister Eren said.
"We are delighted the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix has been secured until 2020, the benefits to the tourism industry and the economy are indisputable. The global broadcast of the race is the perfect platform to showcase Melbourne to the world, with images of our stunning city skyline and parklands shown to millions across the globe."
Australian Grand Prix Corporation Chairman, Mr Ronald J Walker AC CBE, said with the most promising local driver in decades set to line up on the grid; anticipation for the 2015 event is particularly high.
"We have an exceptional talent in Daniel Ricciardo; his fighting spirit and infectious smile have captured the imagination of all Australians. He has built on the strong foundations of Mark Webber, and we are incredibly fortunate to have the privilege of seeing him challenge the world's very best on home soil this March," Mr Walker said.