Daniel Ricciardo provides recovery update after Qatar Grand Prix doubts

Jamie Woodhouse
Daniel Ricciardo pictured in his AlphaTauri garage at the Dutch Grand Prix in Zandvoort.

Daniel Ricciardo pictured in his AlphaTauri garage at the Dutch Grand Prix in Zandvoort.

Daniel Ricciardo wants to return to the AlphaTauri cockpit “in the next few weeks”, with a looming simulator outing set to determine his chances of contesting the Qatar Grand Prix.

Ricciardo’s initial return to Formula 1 action met an unwanted roadblock when he crashed out of FP2 at the Dutch Grand Prix, leaving him with a broken hand which required surgery and a further stint on the sidelines as he went into recovery mode.

But, with Liam Lawson having now contested and impressed in Ricciardo’s place over the past four rounds, questions have been swirling over when Ricciardo will return, with his AlphaTauri seat now secure for F1 2024.

Simulator session to offer Daniel Ricciardo clarity

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner recently rated Ricciardo’s chances of returning for Qatar as on the unlikely side.

“I’d say probably less likely than likely at the moment,” Horner told Sky Sports News.

“His recuperation is going well. But, you know, he’s fixed in the seat for next year, does he need to rush a hasty return for Qatar?

“Whereas maybe another couple of weeks for Austin, which is a hell of a bumpy circuit anyway, it might be better to use that time as preparation for Austin.”

Ricciardo has an outing in the Red Bull simulator to come in the week building up to the Qatar Grand Prix, which will be pivotal in determining whether he is fit to race at the Lusail International Circuit.

“That’s kind of my first test really to see where I’m at and simply make a call from there,” Ricciardo told The West Australian.

“I definitely want to be out there in… call it the next few weeks, that’s the plan. Probably early next week I should know.”

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As well as staying busy with his recovery, Ricciardo has also been at work on non-F1 matters as the leading figure of the newly-launched, $3.6 million ‘Drive the Dream’ tourism campaign in his home state of Western Australia.

Ricciardo was asked to pick one fellow Formula 1 driver who he would most like to have accompany him on a road trip around the state, Ricciardo choosing his former McLaren team-mate Lando Norris.

“It’s risky saying someone who hasn’t been a team-mate because I guess I don’t know them too well,” said Ricciardo with a smile.

“So I’d probably have to go with someone that’s been a team-mate… even someone like Lando.

“We were team-mates for two years. I think the first year was very different to the second year. I think the second year we got to know each other a lot better.

“So I think on that, knowing that if we spent a lot of time together in a car and confined space maybe that would blossom even more.”

Once he does return to the AlphaTauri AT04 cockpit, Ricciardo will harbour strong hopes of scoring points before F1 2023 is over with recent upgrades having boosted what was arguably the slowest challenger, Lawson having picked up two points for a P9 finish in Singapore.

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