Christian Horner, the head of Red Bull, anticipates that Daniel Ricciardo will aim to make his Formula One comeback at the Singapore Grand Prix on September 17.
Ricciardo crashed his AlphaTauri during Friday practice for this weekend’s Dutch Grand Prix, breaking a bone in his hand. He is anticipated to miss the race in Monza the following week due to this injury.
In the sister team of Red Bull, Liam Lawson, a reserve driver, will make his racing debut in Ricciardo’s place.
In order to see Dr. Javier Mir, the same physician who assisted Lance Stroll in competing in the season’s first race despite breaking his wrist in a bicycle accident 12 days earlier, Ricciardo has traveled to Spain.
“These guys, you see it in MotoGP, they bounce back pretty quick,” Horner told Sky Sports on Saturday. “He’s headed off today to Barcelona. They may even have a little operation on him tomorrow to just tidy up where that break is.
“Any normal human being would probably be 10 to 12 weeks but we know these guys aren’t normal. It will all be about the recovery process, how long will that take?
“Is it going to be three weeks? A month? Is it six weeks? Nobody really knows.”
For Ricciardo, who had only joined AlphaTauri two races prior to the summer break, the injury was a harsh blow.
At the end of 2022, McLaren fired Ricciardo, who was then hired as third driver by Red Bull, the team he had left in 2018.
In a pact that will last until the end of the year, the Australian driver will take Nyck de Vries’ spot from the Hungarian Grand Prix in July. His ultimate ambition is to rejoin Red Bull’s senior team, which will probably need another full season with AlphaTauri the following year.
“That was the thing he was most frustrated about talking with him last night,” Horner said. “He’s just taken a bunch of time off, just got his mojo back, back into it, now he’s on the bench again. That was his frustration.
“They’ve [Alpha Tauri] started to make some progress. A shame for him but I am sure that at the back of his mind he has got Singapore as a target but then again Singapore is probably one of the toughest circuits on the calendar. Nature will take its course.”
Lawson, who Red Bull had placed in the Japanese series Super Formula this year, now has a tremendous opportunity as a result of the injury.
Lawson was thought to be a potential candidate for an AlphaTauri drive. Ricciardo’s concern that Lawson might have replaced De Vries, pleased Red Bull management, and retained the seat over the long term, closing the door on Ricciardo’s potential, was a factor in his choice to return with AlphaTauri this year.