AlphaTauri believe Ricciardo’s return is still “a while away” as they provide recovery update

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Daniel Ricciardo triumphantly returned to Formula 1 as a full-time driver earlier in the year, when he was brought in to replace the departing Nyck de Vries at Red Bull’s sister team, AlphaTauri.

However, he was taken off the roster after sustaining a hand injury during FP2 at Zandvoort. Ricciardo was quickly flown to Barcelona, where he underwent surgery for his broken metacarpal, and is now in recovery mode.

Photo credit: Red Bull Content Pool

Rookie Liam Lawson has been serving as his replacement since the Dutch Grand Prix in late August.

Speaking to the media ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix, AlphaTauri’s Jonathan Eddolls provided an update on Ricciardo’s recovery process and the prospect of a comeback later on in the season.

“Well, we all saw him in Singapore,” he said, referencing the appearance Ricciardo made in the paddock last week, wearing his AlphaTauri team t-shirt—and a wrist splint.

“He’s still going through that recovery phase. I’d say we’re still talking a while away.”

“So, I wouldn’t want to put a target on it. The recovery is going well.”

“We’ve 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’s properly healed and cause any issues. So yeah, watch this space.”

Eddolls explained that Ricciardo’s simulator work will double as a fitness test to confirm that he can handle being back behind the wheel of an F1 car. He stressed that the team is in “no rush” to put Ricciardo back in the car before he is physically fit and otherwise ready to return to racing.

“Yes, it’s really that. So he’ll jump in the simulator, you know, it’s a very good representation of the car, all of the loads, etc.

“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’s the pain, how’s the recovery.

“So, as said, we’re not putting him under pressure to come back. We’ve got a pool of three good drivers at the moment. And yes, there’s no big rush. The focus is on him making a full recovery so that when he comes back, it’s not a point that’s even talked about.”