Daniel Ricciardo has reportedly delayed his return to the grid with AlphaTauri until the US Grand Prix in Austin, leaving Liam Lawson to fill his seat once again in Qatar next weekend.
Ricciardo had targeted Qatar as a possible venue for his return to active duty following his recovery from his crash in free practice at the Dutch Grand Prix that resulted in a fractured metacarpal.
It is understood that the Aussie submitted himself to a simulator session with Red Bull at Milton Keynes that went according to plan.
However, it was feared that if ever Ricciardo felt uncomfortable in FP1 in Qatar, the logistics of the Sprint race weekend would have forced Lawson to take to the track on Friday evening for qualifying with no prior mileage at the Lusail circuit.
It has therefore been decided that Ricciardo will extend his recovery period until the US Grand Prix that takes place later this month on October 20-22, a race that will constitute the first leg of a triple header that will also include rounds in Mexico City and at Interlagos in Brazil.
Subsequently, Lawson will undertake in Qatar next weekend his fifth race with AlphaTauri.
The Kiwi has acquitted himself well with the Italian outfit since his first race with the team at Zandvoort at the end of August.
The 21-year-old has measured up well against teammate Yuki Tsunoda and succeeded in scoring his maiden championship points in Singapore where he finished P9.
Despite his impressive displays, AlphaTauri will entrust its cars at the start of 2024 to Ricciardo and Tsunoda.