AlphaTauri has confirmed that Liam Lawson will drive in place of Daniel Ricciardo until the Australian is able to return from injury.
Ricciardo broke a bone in his left hand during a crash in practice on Friday at the Dutch Grand Prix, sidelining him for a number of races. After undergoing successful surgery in Barcelona on Sunday, Ricciardo has been officially ruled out for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza this coming weekend and Lawson – after a controlled run to 13th after just one practice session – will deputize once again.
“We are delighted that Daniel’s surgery went well and that he is now on the road to recovery,” an AlphaTauri statement read. “We hope to see him at the track again very soon, but until he is fully fit, we can confirm that Liam, who did a good job in difficult circumstances in Zandvoort, will continue to drive alongside Yuki (Tsunoda), starting from our home race this weekend in Monza.”
Lawson is currently second in the Super Formula standings with only a double-header weekend remaining at Suzuka on 27-29 October, the same weekend as the Mexico City Grand Prix, and impressed Red Bull team principal Christian Horner with his display at Zandvoort.
“The poor guy getting dropped in a car he’s never driven; wet, dry conditions, I actually think he did pretty well,” Horner said. “He actually overtook Max on Max’s outlap as he changed onto the intermediate tires at the end there. To finish a race like that in itself with the lack of experience that he has, I thought in very difficult circumstances, he applied himself very well.”
In terms of future venues for a potential return for Ricciardo, the race following the Italian Grand Prix is in Singapore two weeks later, marking one of the most physically challenging events on the calendar. That’s also part of a double-header that includes Suzuka, before a one week break ahead of the Qatar Grand Prix on October 8.
“He’s had several screws and a plate fitted to his (metacarpal),” Horner added on Ricciardo. “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. We’ll see. For a normal human being, that would be a couple of months. For a grand prix driver, it’s often much shorter.”