F1: Daniel Ricciardo return date uncertain after ‘successful surgery’ on broken hand - who will replace him?
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AlphaTauri has confirmed that Daniel Ricciardo will not be racing at the Italian Grand Prix next weekend. It comes after the Australian driver crashed out of Free Practice Two on Friday (August 25), breaking his hand.
Ricciardo, 34, has since undergone surgery on his broken metacarpal bone in his left hand in hopes the driver will make a faster recovery. The Australian crashed into the barrier, following in the fellow Aussie, Oscar Piastri, with the sudden movement of the steering wheel when he hit the barrier causing the injury.
The AlphaTauri driver was then seen being helped from his car whilst clutching his broken hand. Ricciardo was just two races into his return to the team after being drafted in to replace underperforming Nyck de Vries.
Ricciardo was announced to be returning to Formula 1 in July after a poor performance from De Vries at Silverstone saw Red Bull bosses quickly fire the driver. Taking to social media on Sunday (August 27), Ricciardo said: “Hey everyone. Had surgery this morning, got my first bit of metal work so that’s pretty cool.
“Big thanks to everyone who reached out and kept my spirits up. This ain’t a setback, just all part of the comeback.”
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has revealed that Ricciardo’s return date to the car remains uncertain despite the successful surgery.
Horner said: “He had an operation on Sunday. He had several screws and a plate fitted to his metacarpal. It went well, it was successful. The bone was broken in multiple places but it was a fairly straightforward procedure. So now it’s all about recovery.
“For a normal being, that would be a couple of months but for a Grand Prix driver that’s probably much shorter. We need to see how that recovery process goes, but certainly not Italy.”
AlphaTauri is the junior team for Red Bull, with team bosses keen to retain Ricciardo for the foreseeable future. On Monday afternoon, AlphaTauri released a statement revealing that Liam Lawson will take the wheel until Ricciardo has recovered from his injury.
AlphaTauri said: “We are delighted that Daniel’s surgery went well and that he is now on the road to recovery. We hope to see him on the track again very soon, but until he is fully fit, we can confirm that Liam, who did a good job in difficult circumstances at Zandvoort, will continue to drive alongside Yuki, starting from our home race this weekend in Monza”.
Lawson, 21, was brought in as a last-minute replacement to the Dutch Grand Prix, where he qualified 20th for the race. The rookie driver finished 13th overall after a dramatic race, which included severe wet weather and a safety car restart.
The young driver said after the race: “It was good, it was a lot going on. When I was rolling up to the grid and it was starting to rain, it wasn’t the best feeling but the race was okay. I think the second half of the race was not so bad, once we got clean air and also on the inters at the end was not too bad. Just happy to survive.”
Liam Lawson’s run in the AlphaTauri seat is his opportunity to impress Red Bull bosses following uncertainty as to who will drive for the team next year. There is also heavy speculation as to Sergio Perez’s future within the team, with Ricciardo said to be eyeing the seat for 2025.
Lawson, who is part of the Red Bull Junior team, has previously driven in Formula 3 and Formula 2, as well as competing in this year’s Super Formula Championship in Japan. The Kiwi is sitting second in the standings with the season-ending races set to take place in October.
The driver took part in three practice sessions for Red Bull and AlphaTauri in 2022 but had not driven this year’s car at all before he was called up to the team at the weekend. Horner shared his thoughts on Lawson’s drive, saying: “The poor guy getting dropped in a car he’s never driven, wet, dry conditions. Everything being thrown at him. I actually think he did pretty well.
“He actually overtook Max [Verstappen] on Max’s out lap as he changed onto the intermediate tyres at the end. To finish a race like that in itself with the lack of experience and very difficult circumstances, he applied himself very well.”