Daniel Ricciardo is readying himself for a simulator session ahead of F1 Qatar GP, as Jonathan Eddolls sheds more and his influence.
Having missed out the races in Netherlands, Italy, Singapore and Japan, AlphaTauri’s Ricciardo is trying his best to make a return in Qatar or beyond. At the moment, it is not certain about a fixed return next weekend, not before a simulator session.
AlphaTauri engineer Eddolls noted that he wasn’t ready certainly for Japan and that he will need to showcase his fitness on the simulator before he is allowed back in the car. There is no rush from the team’s side as well with Liam Lawson doing a sound job so far.
“We all saw him in Singapore, he’s still going through that recovery phase,” said Eddolls. “I’d say we’re still talking a while away. So, I wouldn’t want to put a target on it. The recovery is going well. We’ve got some simulator work planned before a return. And I think from our side and his side, there’s no rush to get him back too early.
“The worst thing would be to come back before it’s properly healed and cause any issues. It’s really that. So he’ll jump in the simulator, you know, it’s a very good representation of the car, all of the loads, etc. I think the final decision is more than likely going to come from him rather than from us.
“He will know better than anyone how’s the pain, how’s the recovery. So, as said, we’re not putting him under pressure to come back. We’ve got a pool of three good drivers at the moment. And yes, there’s no big rush. The focus is on him making a full recovery so that when he comes back, it’s not a point that’s even talked about,” summed up Eddolls.
While there will be a simulator session but there hasn’t been an update for the same from the team’s side. Ricciardo, however, told The Perth Now that he is planning a simulator soon which could even take place next week if all goes well.
“That’s kind of my first test really to see where I’m at and simply make a call from there,” said Ricciardo, who noted about the recovery is going well for him thus far. “I definitely want to be out there in… call it the next few weeks, that’s the plan. Probably early next week I should know.”
After dropping Nyck de Vries, it didn’t take long for either Ricciardo and or Lawson to get upto speed. Granted the car has improved since and the Australian’s feedback has been immense considering the experience he has. The team has full praise for him.
“I mean, pretty much straight away, you could feel the quality of the feedback, not only the feedback on the handling of the car,” said Eddolls. “Obviously, he’s got a wealth of experience and he’s driven many different cars and experienced many different ends of the performance spectrum.
“So having that feedback on our car was extremely valuable for us. But also, I think the other things that were impressive, and reminders of what experience can bring, were: how he could understand the race; the feedback that he could give live; how he thought the tyres were behaving – was it a one-stop or a two-stop; or if there was a Safety car, could he reheat these tyres?
“Or would we need to fit a fresh set? So a lot of the time, we’re making those decisions from the pit wall based on data, but to have somebody… When it’s not clear cut, having someone with that experience can really, really make a difference,” summed up Eddolls.
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