AlphaTauri unsure when Ricciardo will return


AlphaTauri's head of trackside engineering admits that it is by no means certain that Daniel Ricciardo will be fit enough to participate in the forthcoming Qatar Grand Prix.

The event is one of the three remaining Sprint weekends, and the Faenza outfit is determined not to rush the Australian back into the cockpit.

Ricciardo was left with a fractured metacarpal following his rash during qualifying for the Dutch Grand Prix, the Australian steering his car into the barriers in a bid to avoid the stricken McLaren of countryman Oscar Piastri.

Speaking at Suzuka, head of trackside engineering Jonathan Eddolls insisted that the Faenza outfit will not rush Ricciardo's recovery process.

"We saw him in Singapore, he is still going through that recovery phase," said Eddolls. "I would say we are still talking a while away so I wouldn't want to put a target on it.

"The recovery is going well," he continued, "we have got some simulator work planned before a return and I think from our side and his side, there's no rush to get him back too early. The worst thing would be to come back before it is properly healed and cause any issues. So watch this space.

"The simulator is a really good representation of the car and all of the loads etcetera," he added. "I think the final decision is more than likely going to come from him rather than from us, he will know better than anyone how the pain is and how the recovery is.

"We are not putting him under pressure to come back, we have got a pool of three good drivers at the moment, so there is no big rush. The focus is on him making a full recovery so that when he comes back, it is not a point that is even talked about."

Of course, the Faenza outfit has the services of the increasingly impressive Liam Lawson, who last weekend scored his first ever world championship points.

"He's got up to speed very, very quickly," said Eddolls. "Yuki has still got the edge on him, which is totally to be expected with the experience. But I think the fact that he's got into Q3, he scored points very early in a car that's not the most competitive, and at times difficult to drive.

"From what we see compared to some of our previous drivers, he's up there and he's got the potential," he added. "I think we're all excited for more races working with him in the meantime, while we wait for Daniel to recover."

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Published: 22/09/2023
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