Daniel Ricciardo will be present at this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix, but he won’t be participating in the race weekend, his AlphaTauri team have confirmed.
Having returned to the Red Bull fold at the start of this year after being dropped by McLaren, Ricciardo was parachuted into the AlphaTauri seat mid-season following the decision to oust Nyck de Vries.
Ricciardo completed a brace of comeback outings at the Hungarian and Belgian Grands Prix before the summer break. However, a crash in the early stages of FP3 at Zandvoort witnessed the Australian driver break his left hand, ruling him out of action indefinitely.
To date, Ricciardo has sat out the Dutch and Italian Grands Prix, with Red Bull team boss Christian Horner asserting he is unlikely to return before next month’s Qatar Grand Prix.
Previewing this weekend’s race in Singapore, AlphaTauri has confirmed that Ricciardo “will be present with the team in Singapore only for engineering purposes”.
The Faenza squad failed to discuss whether Ricciardo will be back behind the wheel of the AT04 in Japan – but it is expected the Suzuka race weekend will come too soon.
Liam Lawson (NZL) AlphaTauri on the grid. 03.09.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 15, Italian Grand Prix, Monza, Italy, Race Day.
Red Bull reserve driver Liam Lawson has been deputising in Ricciardo’s absence, impressing last time out to narrowly miss out on the points with an 11th-place finish.
The Kiwi racer was less than a tenth of a second behind team-mate Yuki Tsunoda, admitting he “definitely felt more comfortable in Monza than in Zandvoort, even if there’s still a lot to learn”.
“When you get more comfortable in these kinds of cars, it can make quite a big difference,” Lawson continued.
“Having done two races now, I’m also getting a better understanding of the difference between the tyre compounds, which is so important.
“I’d say Monza was pretty successful, even if it was disappointing to finish so close to the points.
“I think if I had had a better start, perhaps things could have been different, but it’s something that I will learn from, and I’m just excited moving forward.
“I know this is a very tough race physically, and when you get thrown into F1 in this situation, even with all the training in the world, it’s still such a tough adjustment.
“It’s going to be extremely difficult, but we’ve been training for it and doing everything we can to prepare for that.
“Last year, I experienced the night-time routine [as Red Bull’s reserve]. It’s cool, to be honest, to go through a weekend like that. It’s a bit different to normal.
“Obviously, the biggest adjustment will be getting used to the track, as I’ve only driven it on the sim, and street circuits are probably the hardest to replicate.
“They take confidence, and when you’re new to the track, or even my situation being new to Formula 1, having that confidence early in the weekend is pretty tricky.
“I’ll be aiming to build up as many laps as we can, a bit like Monza, to be honest. That was the target there, and it will be a similar sort of thing.
“Generally, I like street circuits, for example, I absolutely love Monaco, so I’m expecting to enjoy Singapore too.”
AlphaTauri currently sits bottom of the Constructors’ Championship with only three points,
but the Italian side will be boosted by an upgrade package this weekend.