DANIEL Ricciardo is excited to be making his Renault debut at this Sunday’s Formula 1 season-opener in Melbourne.

It is set to be a special weekend for the 29-year-old, who joined the Enstone-based team from Red Bull, as the Australian Grand Prix is his home race.

After months of preparation and a fortnight of testing, Ricciardo cannot wait for starter’s orders.

He said: “It’s an exciting thought that my first race for Renault is my home grand prix.

“There’s always so much hype at the start of the Formula 1 season, and this has been amplified by me joining a new team.”

The west Oxfordshire outfit finished fourth in the constructors’ standings last season and Nico Hulkenberg is expecting a tough year.

He said: “The midfield will always be competitive, but we focus on ourselves, stay on top of things and ensure our developments give us improvements.”