AlpahTauri's chief race engineer Jonathan Eddolls has revealed that Daniel Ricciardo is still 'a while away' from a return to action following his nasty injury.
The Australian broke his hand during FP2 at the Dutch Grand Prix after colliding with the barriers in an attempt to avoid Oscar Piastri, who had also crashed. He has missed the previous three races, with youngster Liam Lawson stepping into the car as his replacement.
Lawson has performed very well, impressing the team and outperforming his team-mate Yuki Tsunoda in all three grands prix so far. In this sense, AlphaTauri aren't in any rush to risk Ricciardo's fitness, and Eddolls has revealed that Lawson may be in the car for a while longer.
"We all saw him in Singapore, he's still going through that recovery phase," he told the media before the Japanese GP. "I'd 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, and 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."
Unfortunately for Ricciardo, AlphaTauri seem content with Lawson, who has managed to score two points from his opening three races, almost half of the tally that the team have achieved all season.
The car has clearly been underperforming in 2023, sat bottom of the constructors' championship, and they have now had three driver pairings this season after Ricciardo had originally replaced Nyck de Vries.
Having not decided on their 2024 driver lineup just yet, Ricciardo will be desperate to get back in the car in a last-ditch attempt to secure his seat for next season.
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