It is the boss of Red Bull Racing, Christian Horner who indicates it: there is no chance of seeing Ricciardo make his return for Singapore. The Australian driver broke his hand in an accident during free practice at Zandvoort. He therefore had to give up his driving to Liam Lawson, protected from the Red Bull sector, in the Netherlands, but also last weekend at Monza in Italy.
In addition to the operation of the hand that must be consolidated, there will be a concern for muscular form after weeks of immobilization. So Qatar in a month is not completely absurd in terms of time. And for Ricciardo, it’s probably the worst that could happen to him.
The Australian jumped into the AlphaTauri, which was poor compared to the other cars on the grid, when Red Bull decided to cut Nyck de Vries after just 6 months. For Ricciardo, the objective was clear: to show that he had the level to return to the first team in place of Perez. But to hope for this, he must beat his teammate in Faenza: Yuki Tsunoda. In Hungary, Ricciardo finished 2 places ahead of Tsunoda. But, the latter scratches the point of 10th place at Spa Francorchamps when Daniel does better than 16th.
Lawson’s very interesting debut doesn’t make the case for Ricciardo
Worse, Lawson (New Zealand), who arrives from the Japanese Super Formula, was 13th at Zandvoort for his first Grand Prix in F1, beating Tsunoda, then close to the points at Monza by finishing 11th. Obviously, we must not ignite but Lawson impressed the gallery. For Ricciardo, the option of a 2024 season in a tub could very quickly go away because of his injury. If Lawson sparks in Singapore and then Suzuka, wouldn’t Red Bull be tempted to leave him in the car? And too bad for the Super Formula title! There is only one double run left at Suzuka, but that falls at the same time as Mexico.
Red Bull having seen Lawson’s potential despite his young age (21), there is no longer too much to rush Ricciardo’s return. “We’ve seen bikers rushing back (after injuries NDLA) and they’ve had more damage sometimes, so we want to be sure he’s fully close before we see him back in the car.”.
Last advantage for the New Zealander against the Australian: we will soon be going to Suzuka, a circuit he already knows with the Super Formula. An advantage that should allow him to express himself fully. If, in Singapore and Japan, Lawson beats Tsunoda again or even scores 1 point, we could see him in the bucket for the end of the season. And for the smiling “Honey Badger”? The F1 train leaves again without him.