Daniel Ricciardo is coming back for the United States Grand Prix on Oct. 22 in Austin he announced Friday in Nashville. Here’s what you need to know:
- The Australian driver has been sidelined since the Dutch Grand Prix after suffering a broken metacarpal during a practice crash. Ricciardo underwent surgery and has since been recovering.
- Liam Lawson jumped into the cockpit in Ricciardo’s absence and starred, bringing home two points in five grands prix thanks to a P9 finish in Singapore — AlphaTauri’s best result of the season.
- The U.S. Grand Prix likely won’t be the first time Ricciardo will be in an F1 car since his injury. Red Bull is hosting a showrun in Nashville down Lower Broadway, and Ricciardo is expected to drive the RB7, Red Bull’s 2011 car.
How we got here
Ricciardo made his F1 return at the Hungarian Grand Prix, replacing former rookie Nyck de Vries, just eight months after his final grand prix start for McLaren.
It was a shock return for the Australian driver, to say the least, and while he finished outside of points, the Hungarian GP arguably was a success. Ricciardo out-qualified teammate Yuki Tsunoda and advanced to Q2, and the point of the weekend was to learn more about the AT04 and its limitations. And just as important, he showed no signs of rustiness despite his time on the sidelines.
“Honestly, just coming into it physically, not doing a race distance in eight months, especially round here — it’s actually one of the tougher ones,” Ricciardo said. “That’s one of the biggest smiles I have right now. It felt pretty good out there.”
The Belgium GP, though, was more of a mixed result. Track limits left him qualifying P19, but he flirted with a possible points finish in the sprint race, finishing P10. Sunday, though, Ricciardo delivered a more low-key drive after dealing with traffic and not getting the most out of his tires even when in clean air.
Summer break followed, and when F1 returned for the Dutch GP, Ricciardo only hit the track on Friday. During FP2, he locked up his tires while avoiding Oscar Piastri and crashed into the barrier at the same corner as the McLaren rookie.
A nasty moment for our Aussie pair during FP2
— Formula 1 (@F1) August 25, 2023
Further testing showed he broke his hand, and Ricciardo subsequently underwent surgery and began his recovery. AlphaTauri CEO Peter Bayer said in Qatar last week that the Australian driver had been in the simulator days earlier, adding, “He said that he could, you know, go almost until the end. But it was not 100 percent.”
AlphaTauri opted not to rush his recovery with the plan for Ricciardo to be ready for Austin.
(Photo: Ben Stansall / AFP via Getty Images)