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daniel ricciardo alphatauri1

AlphaTauri: Ricciardo back for Austin is the plan

daniel ricciardo alphatauri1

AlphaTauri expects Daniel Ricciardo to return at the United Grand Prix in Austin later this month, the team’s chief executive Peter Bayer told reporters in Qatar.

Australian Formula 1 veteran Ricciardo – who replaced sacked Nyck de Vries in the Red Bull ‘junior team’ after spending the first half of the season sidelined as RBR reserve – has missed five races since he crashed and broke a hand in practice for the Dutch Grand Prix in August, 21-year-old New Zealander Liam Lawson standing in as the reserve.

“That’s definitely the plan,” Bayer replied when asked on Friday whether Ricciardo was expected to return in Texas. “He was in the simulator on Monday and he said that he could go almost until the end, but it was not 100% and he didn’t want to rush things.

“We have this amazing luxury of having a top third driver who can jump into the seat and so we together decided to give him a bit more time and he should be in the car in Austin.”

AlphaTauri are last in the constructors’ standings but Lawson took their highest placing so far in 2023 with ninth in Singapore last month.

Bayer said he had called him ‘Liam the Lion’ after his impressive performance at Marina Bay: “He’s doing an excellent job working with the engineers … he’s improving lap by lap.

“He’s a very quick learner and he’s fighting. He keeps delivering so very happy to have him on board as part of the family,” said the Austrian.

Lawson will revert to a reserve role next season with Ricciardo partnering Japan’s Yuki Tsunoda, Bayer explained: “We only have two seats and Daniel is offering a lot of expertise, especially when it comes down to the setup of the car, which is something that we were struggling with.

“We came to the conclusion that in order to be contenders for the top of the midfield we need one experienced driver but would continue to grow young talent that ultimately shall end up in Red Bull Racing,” added Bayer. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin)