Daniel Ricciardo says he is planning a run in the simulator “early next week” to determine the date for his return to Formula 1 action.
Having been dropped at the end of last year by McLaren, Ricciardo was handed an F1 reprieve with Red Bull’s sister team, AlphaTauri, after Nyck de Vries was ousted only 10 races into his rookie campaign.
However, Ricciardo was only embarking upon his third weekend in the AT04 when he crashed in FP3 at Zandvoort, sustaining a break to the metacarpal in his left hand.
Ricciardo’s absence has allowed Liam Lawson to deputise in the past four rounds, with the Kiwi debutant scoring his maiden F1 points with ninth place in Singapore.
Discussing his recuperation period with Perth Now, Ricciardo said his recovery was “coming along” and that a first simulator outing since the crash would tell him more.
“That’s kind of my first test really to see where I’m at and simply make a call from there,” he continued.
“I definitely want to be out there in… call it the next few weeks, that’s the plan. Probably early next week I should know.”
After AlphaTauri Head of Trackside Engineering Jonathan Eddolls admitted last Friday at Suzuka that Ricciardo’s return from injury remained “a while away” yet, Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner confirms his chances of driving in the Qatar Grand Prix is “less likely than likely at the moment.”
“His recuperation is going well but he’s fixed in the seat for next year, does he need to rush a hasty return for Qatar where maybe another couple of weeks for Austin, which is a hell of a bumpy circuit anyway, it might be better to use that time in preparation for Austin,” he told Sky Sports.
“I know he’s got his sights fixed on Qatar, he’ll drive the simulator next week and then we’ll make some decisions based on that.”
F1’s second-ever trip to the Losail circuit will occur next weekend before a two-week break ahead of a run of five races in six weeks to conclude the 2023 season.
AlphaTauri confirmed during the Japanese Grand Prix weekend that Ricciardo would remain alongside Yuki Tsunoda for 2024.