Daniel Ricciardo jumps on Facetime to reveal return, Lewis Hamilton teases Mercedes ‘top secret’ – F1 News round-up

Thomas Maher
AlphaTauri's Daniel Ricciardo and Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton.

AlphaTauri's Daniel Ricciardo and Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton.

Thursday marked a busy media day ahead of the Qatar Grand Prix, so catch up on all the main F1 news topics of the day!

The weekend at the Lusail Circuit kicked off on Thursday, with plenty of media obligations and press conferences for the drivers to sink their teeth into before the meat of the Grand Prix.

After a busy day, here are all the main F1 storylines you need to know from Thursday.

Daniel Ricciardo’s Facetime call confirms Austin return planned

Daniel Ricciardo is sitting out this weekend’s Qatar Grand Prix as he continues to rehabilitate from his broken metacarpal. But this weekend is likely to be his last missed opportunity this year, with the Australian revealing that his return is planned for the United States Grand Prix.

His stand-in, Liam Lawson, revealed how he got a Facetime call from Ricciardo to confirm that the Kiwi would be driving the AlphaTauri this weekend, and revealed that Austin is the planned return for the eight-time Grand Prix winner.

Ricciardo also posted himself on Instagram to tell his followers that he would “see them in Austin” in his latest injury update.

Read more – Daniel Ricciardo’s FaceTime antics leave Liam Lawson in confused state

Has Lawrence Stroll lined up a new project for Lance Stroll?

Wednesday’s announcement of a new Aston Martin WEC entry may have implications for the F1 world in the not-too-distant future, given that it gives owner Lawrence Stroll the perfect opportunity to shake things up with his F1 team.

With Lance Stroll struggling to keep up with illustrious teammate Fernando Alonso, his troubles have resulted in Aston Martin slipping further down the Constructors’ Championship – a costly slide, given the team aren’t perennial frontrunners.

Our own Thomas Maher has explored the idea, and argued that the WEC programme gives Aston Martin the ideal way to move Stroll out of F1 and into WEC – with everyone benefitting from the move.

Stroll himself addressed his tough season when he spoke to media on Thursday in Qatar, admitting that there are areas within his control that he can seek to improve, and that speed has been lacking on his side of the garage on occasion.

Read more – Has Lawrence Stroll just solved his Aston Martin F1 team’s driver problem?

Lewis Hamilton teasing us all with ‘top secret’ Mercedes admission

The seven-time World Champion was in mischievous form as he spoke to the media on Thursday about what the future may hold for Mercedes.

On his return from Japan, Hamilton visited the Mercedes factory in Brackley to view their progress for 2024 and, upon being asked about what new and spicy stuff there is to get excited about, he smiled to say he couldn’t say because it’s all ‘top-secret’.

Instead, Hamilton revealed the reasons why he’s excited about what his team may achieve with the W15 as the attention shifts over to 2024.

Read more – Lewis Hamilton teases ‘top secret’ 2024 info after Mercedes factory visit

Drivers react to Andretti FIA approval

With the FIA green-lighting Andretti Global’s prospective F1 entry to allow the American squad to get to the next stage in the vetting process, plenty of the drivers weighed in on the topic on Thursday.

In general, the response from the drivers was more positive than that of their bosses, with Fernando Alonso passing the responsibility for approval to his team.

“A great team, I know Michael,” Alonso said having raced for Andretti in IndyCar.

“[It] will be obviously a great name to add to Formula 1 but there are the people in charge of these kind of decisions and first FIA and then FOM and the teams as well.

“So for me, I don’t know exactly what to say. Whatever the final decision is, it’s going to be okay. I like Michael, as I said, I like the organisation but I also understand all the things and I support as well whatever Aston Martin’s position is.”

Max Verstappen was also supportive, saying: “From what I’ve seen and heard it looks very professional, they really want to come in and of course with Andretti, they are big name and they already have achieved a lot in motorsports so would definitely like to see them here, but it’s not up to me to decide these kind of things.”

George Russell sat on the fence about the announcement from the FIA, saying: “I think Formula 1’s the pinnacle and we want to see quality competition so I’m not for, I’m not against, but definitely if there were to be an extra team it’s got to be a quality outfit, one that can add to the sport.

“And we want to see competition, in an ideal world you want to see all ten teams fighting against one another. So I’m sure F1 will come to the best conclusion and answer whatever it may be, but we’ve got to have quality over quantity. But as I said, I don’t feel strongly.”

Read more – Max Verstappen and Fernando Alonso share Andretti verdict as F1 weighs up huge decision