Daniel Ricciardo will be back on track at this weekend’s U.S. Grand Prix in Austin after missing five races with a broken hand, the Australian Formula One driver confirmed on Wednesday.
Ricciardo suffered the injury in Dutch Grand Prix practice in August and was replaced at AlphaTauri by New Zealander Liam Lawson.
“It’s good to be back. My hand is much better, and the simulator was a useful way of assessing it,” he said in a team preview.
“I tried it out in the week before Qatar, but I didn’t feel it was at full potential, so I spent the rest of that week in the UK, spending more time in the sim, and got to a point where I felt ready to go.
“My overall fitness is fine as I kept training as much as I could, although I obviously couldn’t do much with my left hand or arm for a while.”
This weekend’s race will be run to a sprint format, with a 100km race on Saturday and main event on Sunday.
Red Bull-owned AlphaTauri are last in the constructors’ standings but Lawson took their highest placing so far in 2023 with ninth in Singapore last month.
Ricciardo joined the team in July as replacement for departed Dutch driver Nyck de Vries and has already been confirmed for 2024.
“It was definitely frustrating watching the past few races, especially as I’d gotten myself to a place where I was so ready to go again and race, and then I did two events and had to hit ‘pause’ again,” said Ricciardo.
“But actually, the time without racing went quite quickly. The current car has moved on a bit since I last drove it, but the sim was useful to get an idea of what the changes and updates have delivered.
“I felt a little bit of their effect, but it’s one of those things I think, once I get on track, I’ll feel them to their full effect.”