Daniel Ricciardo says his broken hand is getting “better and better”.
That is despite the fact that sources are reporting this week that his impressive stand-in Liam Lawson will still be at the wheel of the Alpha Tauri next weekend at Qatar.
However, Alpha Tauri’s engineering boss Jonathan Eddols, and Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, are preparing to put Australian Ricciardo in the driver simulator at Milton Keynes next week.
“I know he’s got his sights fixed on Qatar,” Horner told Sky. “He’ll be in the simulator next week and then we’ll make some decisions based on that.”
Horner admitted, though, that a return for the 33-year-old at Qatar is not “likely”.
“His recovery is going well but he’s fixed in the seat for next year. Does he need to rush a return for Qatar where maybe another couple of weeks for Austin, a very bumpy circuit, might be better?” he added.
However, Ricciardo, 33, sounds keen to aim for a comeback at Qatar.
When asked by the West Australian newspaper about his injury, he said: “I can feel it getting better and better.
“The test in the simulator will show where I really stand. I really want to get back into the car now but we’ll know more next week.”
He agrees with Horner, though, that the most important thing is that he is all signed up for the full 2024 season.
“It’s exciting to have a place on the grid for the next world championship,” Ricciardo told Sky Italia in a separate interview.
“A year ago I didn’t know what I wanted. Now I do.”