Christian Horner thinks there’s no chance that Daniel Ricciardo will be ready to drive the 2023 Singapore Grand Prix for AlphaTauri, after he underwent hand surgery on his broken hand sustained at the Dutch GP.
Ricciardo hit the wall at Zandvoort‘s banked turn three attempting to avoid the stricken McLaren of compatriot Oscar Piastri, who’d crashed seconds earlier.
Just two races after making his F1 comeback, Ricciardo was rushed to the medical centre and diagnosed with a fracture, meaning Liam Lawson‘s replaced him at AlphaTauri for the foreseeable future.
“I think certainly Singapore, I don’t think there’s any chance he’ll be ready for that,” Horner told select members of the press, including Total-Motorsport.com, at the Italian GP.
“I think his recovery is going well, I think it will be optimistic for Japan. I should think he’s pretty keen to be in the car in Suzuka, we just take it on a day-by-day basis and see how the recovery and nature takes its course.”
Horner: Rushed comeback could do more harm than good
Ricciardo should certainly be eager to get back in the car given Lawson‘s fantastic performances as super-sub.
The Kiwi made a superb late surge up the order on raceday in Zandvoort, after he was thrust into qualifying with just an hour of free practice session to get up to speed.
And despite only having a few days to get more familiar with the car before arriving at Monza, Lawson did even better on his second outing. He comfortably reached Q3 and qualified within two-tenths of Yuki Tsunoda, then finished eleventh in the race to jump Ricciardo and Nyck de Vries in the drivers’ championship.
The injury came at the worst possible time for Ricciardo, just after he’d made an unlikely return in place of the unfortunate De Vries, but ahead of a run of four races in five weeks. However, Horner cautioned his former charge against rushing back too quickly.
“He’s got mobility of the hand, he’s into rehabilitation now, but we’ve seen with motorcyclists, rushing comebacks can sometimes do more damage,” Horner added. “So we just want to make sure he’s fully fit before he gets back in the car.”