Ricciardo ready for close shave

Daniel Ricciardo is preparing himself for a close shave even before the new Formula One season gets under way in two months' time.

Whilst on holiday in his Australian homeland over the past few weeks, Ricciardo has not only let his hair down, but also decided to grow a beard.

The 23-year-old is due to leave Australia later this week and head to the Toro Rosso factory in Faenza for a seat fitting prior to making a number of personal appearances in the UK.

Ricciardo appreciates he will have to lose the beard beforehand as he said: "It will come off.

"I've been living the beach lifestyle and haven't been bothered to pick up a razor in a while.

"I'll get rid of it. I've got to look young again", he said before jokingly adding: "It's been nice to let it grow and prove I'm a man."

Ricciardo has also confirmed the team are "on schedule" to take part in the first test early next month.

Although Toro Rosso have yet to announce a launch date for the STR8, Ricciardo has revealed he will be in the car on the opening day of the test in Jerez.

"I'm in constant contact. Now the fun is over it's back into business mode, getting some info as to how it's all looking," said Ricciardo, via video link on the team's official website.

"The team say everything is running to plan and on schedule, which is the first thing you want to hear.

"But in terms of how the car is going to perform, no one is going to say too much until we are out on track.

"Even if they tell me it's the best thing since sliced bread, I'm not going to get too excited until I drive it and feel comfortable myself, but we've definitely good expectations.

"I'll be driving on the first day, so the fifth of Feb, so not long at all. Three weeks. Good stuff. Can't wait."

Like any driver at this time of year, and after returning to full time training a fortnight ago, Ricciardo is itching to get behind the wheel for the opening race in Australia on March 17.

"I've got the holiday spirit out of my system, enjoyed a good time in Australia," added Ricciardo.

"Since I've been training, all my friends are back at work, so it feels like we're back in business and ready to go.

"Training's fun, I enjoy it, but I enjoy nothing more than driving a car. That's the best training we get.

"So I'd like Melbourne to come around quickly. Testing's all right, but racing's better."