Daniel Ricciardo is eagerly awaiting a critical simulator session next week, which could play a pivotal role in determining whether he will be fit to make a return to racing at the upcoming Qatar Grand Prix.
The AlphaTauri driver suffered a hand injury during a practice session for the Dutch Grand Prix and has been sidelined from racing ever since.
His absence opened the door for young talent Liam Lawson to deputise, and the Kiwi driver impressed by scoring points in the recent Singapore Grand Prix.
With the Australian driver yet to receive the all-clear, Ricciardo's F1 return hinges on a crucial simulator session.
"That’s kind of my first test really to see where I’m at and simply make a call from there," he said to Perth Now. "I definitely want to be out [on track] in… call it the next few weeks, that’s the plan. But probably early next week I should know [if I can drive in Qatar]."
However, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner expressed a note of caution.
"I would say probably less likely than likely at the moment," said Horner when quizzed whether Ricciardo could return in Qatar.
"His recuperation is going well but he's fixed in the seat for next year, does he need to rush a hasty return for Qatar where maybe another couple of weeks for Austin? It is a hell of a bumpy circuit anyway, it might be better to use that time in preparation for Austin.
"I know he's got his sights fixed on Qatar; he'll drive the simulator next week, and then we'll make some decisions based on that."
GPFans is a multi-platform, multi-language brand dedicated to Formula One coverage. We bring you all the ins and outs of the sport, 24/7, everything from up-to-the-minute news and features to the latest viral stories and clips.
We believe that a new generation of exciting, outspoken drivers will make F1 more popular than ever before, and we want to give our users access to as much of their heroes as possible, on and off the track. From Lewis Hamilton to Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo to Sebastian Vettel, we provide in-depth analysis of every every Grand Prix in the season, from Australia to Abu Dhabi.
With Formula One under the new ownership of Liberty Media, how the sport is being covered is evolving, and GPFans will look to be at the heart of this progression into new media, as one of the fastest-growing sites covering the king of motorsports.