Christian Horner, the team principal of Red Bull Racing, has pinpointed the race where he envisions Daniel Ricciardo aiming for his return following a hand injury.
The Australian racer has been forced to the sidelines due to a hand injury he sustained during the second practice session at Zandvoort. While attempting to navigate around the already crashed car of McLaren’s Oscar Piastri at the Hugenholtz corner, Ricciardo collided with the barriers, resulting in a fractured metacarpal.
Ricciardo, who recently re-entered Formula 1 after stepping up to replace the underperforming Nyck de Vries at AlphaTauri prior to the summer hiatus, now faces a recovery period that will keep him out of the car for several weeks. Consequently, Kiwi driver Liam Lawson has taken over the AT04 cockpit in Ricciardo’s absence.
Christian Horner provides an update on Daniel Ricciardo’s injury status. Acknowledging that Ricciardo is now under the care of renowned medical specialist Dr. Xavier Mir, known for his expertise in MotoGP and his recent treatment of Lance Stroll’s fractured wrists, Horner shared that the Australian driver has departed the Netherlands to initiate his recovery process.
Horner elaborated on the situation, stating, “We often witness this resilience, particularly in MotoGP. These athletes tend to recuperate swiftly. As for Daniel, he’s traveled to Barcelona today. There’s a possibility that a minor procedure might be conducted on him tomorrow to refine the area of the fracture, which is notably clean in nature.”
He continued, highlighting the next steps, “Following that, it’s all about the recovery timeline, a factor that can vary. Typically, for an average person, it might take around 10 to 12 weeks, but these individuals operate on a different level.
Hence, the emphasis now shifts to the recovery process. The length of this period remains undetermined — whether it spans three weeks, a month, or even potentially up to six weeks. The precise timeframe currently remains uncertain.
What race might Daniel Ricciardo be aiming for F1 return?
Ricciardo, who is endeavoring to rejuvenate his Formula 1 journey with Red Bull after securing the AlphaTauri seat, faces a significant setback due to his injury. This comes following a six-month hiatus following his stint at McLaren, and it deals a severe blow to the Australian driver’s momentum as he enters the latter half of the season.
During the summer break, Ricciardo dedicated himself to enhancing his fitness, envisioning a smoother sequence of races ahead. Christian Horner disclosed how the incident has left Ricciardo notably frustrated, given his aspirations for a more favorable trajectory in the races to come.
“Expressing Ricciardo’s chief source of frustration, Horner remarked, “What got to him the most was that he had recently dedicated considerable time to rejuvenate, regain his stride, and right when he was finding his rhythm, he’s suddenly benched again. That’s what really got under his skin.”
Horner shared insights from his conversation with Ricciardo, explaining, “He felt that the team had started to make strides in improving the car’s performance, and this development had coincided with his renewed energy and focus. Consequently, his disappointment is palpable.”
As it’s confirmed that Ricciardo won’t be partaking in the Monza race, Horner ventured a speculative estimate regarding his potential Formula 1 return. He identified a race in mid-September as a potential target, saying, “I’m inclined to think that somewhere in the back of his mind, he might be eyeing Singapore as a potential comeback race.”
The Singapore Grand Prix is set for September 17th. Horner acknowledged the challenges posed by the physically demanding Singapore circuit but emphasized the role of natural healing in the process.