Christian Horner believes Daniel Ricciardo made the right decision to wait until after Qatar to make an F1 comeback. With two weeks separating the Qatar and US Grand Prix, the Australian will have more time to make a recovery.
Having shown some encouraging pace in his first races with AlphaTauri, he was sidelined after an unfortunate incident in Zandvoort. It was immediately clear that his return to the 2023 grid was to become more complicated.
Liam Lawson has impressed in the AT04 machine, securing points in Singapore and showing few signs of inexperience. For a few weeks, there was speculation that he could become an option for AlphaTauri in 2024.
However, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has been very supportive of Ricciardo since his return was announced. There is a clear belief in the Austrian team that – after spending many years trying to replace him – Ricciardo is a leading contender to partner Max Verstappen in the future.
Although his injury makes it difficult to form any concrete assessments, there can be no mistake about the Honey Badger’s importance to the team.
There was a possibility that Ricciardo could return to AlphaTauri in Qatar, as he gets closer to 100% fitness. However, the decision was taken not to rush the recovery process.
Speaking after last weekend’s action in Losail, Christian Horner is more than happy with this outcome:
“We want to see him in full fitness. I think it was right to miss the race, particularly as it turned out,” Speedcafe quotes him as saying.
“With the conditions we had, it could have been very testing for him.
“So I think to have had that extra, if you like, 12 days in the run-up to Austin is the best preparation.”
As pressure mounts on Sergio Perez to deliver results, there is a window of opportunity that Ricciardo can capitalise on.
Although Perez’s fate at Red Bull is still unknown, it is clear that recent results have jeopardised his position.
If Ricciardo can impress and secure points in the final rounds of the year, he will strengthen his position as an option for Red Bull moving forward.