Daniel Ricciardo is anticipated to be absent from a third consecutive grand prix in the near future, and likely an additional one after that.
This was corroborated by Red Bull’s team principal, Christian Horner, who spoke about the Australian driver’s ongoing recovery from a hand fracture suffered during practice for the Dutch GP.
Filling in for Ricciardo at Alpha Tauri, Red Bull’s sister team, was stand-in driver Liam Lawson at both Zandvoort and Monza.
Ricciardo, aged 33, had surgical intervention a few days post the Dutch GP, and as per team leader Franz Tost, is currently undergoing rehabilitation in Barcelona.
“He is doing well in the circumstances,” Tost told Sky Deutschland.
“I called him and he’s getting physical therapy treatments there. We will see now how fast the healing process is, but I hope it’s only a matter of weeks and not too many.
“But for sure we are not going to see him in the car in the next two to three weeks. But we’ll see.”
Horner is in agreement with Tost’s evaluation, implying that Ricciardo will definitely miss Singapore and is likely to be absent for Suzuka thereafter.
A bit of good news for Alpha Tauri: Lawson, a 21-year-old New Zealander, is well-versed with the Suzuka track due to his full-time role in this year’s Japanese Super Formula series.
“I should think he’s pretty keen to be in the car in Suzuka, but we’ll just take it on a day-by-day basis and see how the recovery goes and how nature takes its course,” Horner said.
Lawson himself appears open to the chance of racing at the renowned Japanese circuit if Ricciardo continues to be unfit.
“If, exactly,” he commented. “If I get the chance.
“At the moment I have no idea. I’ll prepare as normal but we’ll wait and see.”
Horner confirmed that Singapore is absolutely out of the question for Ricciardo.
“Japan would also be optimistic,” he noted. “But the recovery is going well. He has regained some movement in the hand and is now undergoing rehabilitation.
“We just want to make sure he has fully recovered before we put him at the wheel of a car again, as we’ve seen plenty of examples of motorbike racers trying to return too quickly and causing more damage,” Horner added.
The subsequent race after Suzuka is set for early October in Qatar.