A simulator session next week will be a key factor in deciding whether Daniel Ricciardo can return for the Qatar Grand Prix next weekend.
The AlphaTauri driver broke his hand in practice for the Dutch Grand Prix and has not driven since with Liam Lawson deputising, scoring points in the Singapore Grand Prix.
Ricciardo skipped the Singapore and Japanese Grands Prix due to their physicality with the Qatar weekend of 6th-8th October touted as a possible return date.
While he is nearing full fitness, the Australian still has not had a all-clear to return with a simulator session planned for early next week to decide whether he will be on the grid for the Lusail race or if Lawson will get a fifth race.
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"That’s kind of my first test really to see where I’m at and simply make a call from there," Ricciardo told Perth Now of driving the simulator.
"I definitely want to be out [on-track] in… call it the next few weeks, that’s the plan.
"But probably early next week I should know [if I can drive in Qatar]."
Red Bull boss Christian Horner echoed those coments from the eight-time Grand Prix winner Ricciardo, who he believes does not need to rush himself back now that he has a full-time seat secured with AlphaTauri.
"I would say probably less likely than likely at the moment," Horner told Sky Sports F1 of Ricciardo's return in Qatar.
"His recuperation is going well but he's fixed in the seat for next year, does he need to rush a hasty return for Qatar where maybe another couple of weeks for Austin?
"It is a hell of a bumpy circuit anyway, it might be better to use that time in preparation for Austin.
"I know he's got his sights fixed on Qatar, he'll drive the simulator next week and then we'll make some decisions based on that."