Nico Rosberg believes Daniel Ricciardo’s broken hand may impact where he drives in Formula 1, should he hang onto a seat for 2024.
Ricciardo is currently out convalescing from his recent hand break, suffering the injury in an innocuous impact with the barriers during practice at Zandvoort as he took avoiding action to miss the already crashed McLaren of Oscar Piastri.
Having had surgery on his hand, the Australian will miss at least one or two more races for AlphaTauri – bad timing for the veteran as he looked to build some momentum in the second half of the season after securing a seat following his departure from McLaren at the end of 2022.
Nico Rosberg: This could cost Daniel Ricciardo a Red Bull drive
With Ricciardo being given the chance by Red Bull to impress at AlphaTauri, at a time when Sergio Perez’s future with the senior team is under scrutiny, 2016 F1 World Champion Nico Rosberg believes the consequence of the injury is that Red Bull won’t take the gamble of popping Ricciardo into the seat alongside Max Verstappen next season.
“How unlucky has that been for Daniel, though? It’s incredible,” Rosberg said on the Sky F1 podcast.
“He gets this chance to come back and he breaks his hand in a freak accident, so unlucky.
“The latest from Christian Horner is that Danny will be back in Qatar. So he still misses a couple of races and then he’ll be able to come back because it’s apparently quite a decent break of the hand he’s had. It makes it difficult but Daniel has such a value to Red Bull, he’s so liked by Red Bull that they’ll definitely be patient in giving him a definite clear chance.
“But I think this break could actually be the difference between him getting a shot at replacing Perez next year, and having another year in AlphaTauri. I think the hand break could have the effect of putting him into one more year at AlphaTauri.”
Nico Rosberg: Liam Lawson impressive but Daniel Ricciardo will be back
With Ricciardo sidelined, it’s given rookie driver Liam Lawson his debut races in the sport – the Kiwi driver taking to F1 with aplomb as he put in a solid showing at short notice in Zandvoort before all but matching Yuki Tsunoda in qualifying at Monza.
With the experienced Tsunoda retiring pre-race in Italy, Lawson was left to represent AlphaTauri by himself at Monza, coming home in 11th and only just missing out on a maiden point.
Lawson earned the praise of Rosberg, but the German doesn’t doubt that Red Bull will still want to give Ricciardo a fair crack of the whip even if Lawson does do something stellar.
“Lawson did a really, really good job, especially in Monza,” he said.
“Incredible to jump in the car and be only one and a half tenths or something from Tsunoda. That’s really awesome because Tsunoda is fast. So that’s a super drive and then good race, good race pace, and everything.”
Asked whether Red Bull will return Ricciardo to the seat at AlphaTauri, Rosberg said: “Yeah, of course, come on, Daniel is Daniel and they would have the whole world against themselves. They cannot not bring him back, the poor guy broke his hand.
“No way. Or they could say ‘You’re back in the car for next year, but let’s have Liam finish the season because we need to evaluate him now’ or whatever, perhaps. But you need to have Daniel back at some point.”