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AlphaTauri admit Ricciardo’s return still ‘a while away’ as they share recovery update

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AlphaTauri have stressed that there will be “no rush” to get Daniel Ricciardo back in the cockpit as he continues his rehabilitation from a broken hand, with the team and driver prioritising a full recovery.

Shortly after being drafted in to replace the axed Nyck de Vries mid-season, Ricciardo suffered a broken metacarpal during a Friday practice crash at the Dutch Grand Prix, putting him out of action on the spot.

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He underwent surgery that involved placing a metal plate and some screws to secure the bone, with Red Bull junior driver Liam Lawson filling in for him at Zandvoort, Monza and Marina Bay.

Ricciardo made his first appearance since suffering the injury during last weekend’s Singapore event, carrying out engineering duties, but according to AlphaTauri’s Chief Race Engineer, Jonathan Eddolls, a return to the cockpit is likely some way off.

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Ricciardo suffered a broken hand during a practice crash at Zandvoort in late August

“Well, we all saw him in Singapore,” said Eddolls. “He’s still going through that recovery phase. I would say we’re still talking a while away, so I wouldn’t want to put a target on it. The recovery is going well.

“We’ve got some simulator work planned before a return. I think from our side and his side there’s no rush to get him back too early. The worst thing would be to come back before it’s properly healed and cause any issues.”

READ MORE: Tsunoda jokes AlphaTauri need ‘three seats’ in 2024 as Lawson stakes claim for full-time drive

Pushed on Ricciardo’s upcoming simulator programme, and whether it will serve as a fitness test, Eddolls added: “It’s really that. He’ll jump in, the simulator is a very good representation of the car, all of the loads.

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Ricciardo was seen on the AlphaTauri pit wall during the Singapore Grand Prix weekend

“I think the final decision is more than likely going to come from him rather than from us. He will know better than anyone, how’s the pain, how’s the recovery, so as I said, we’re not putting him under pressure to come back.

“We’ve got a pool of three good drivers at the moment, so there’s no big rush. The focus is on him making a full recovery so that when he comes back, it’s not a point that’s even talked about.”

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After this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix, the next stop on the 2023 F1 calendar will be Qatar from October 6-8. A triple-header sequence follows in the United States (October 20-22), Mexico (October 27-29) and Brazil (November 3-5).

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