Covid-19

FORMULA 1

McLaren confident of Ricciardo recovery but have three potential stand-ins

McLaren confident of Ricciardo recovery but have three potential stand-ins
epa09641238 Australian Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo of McLaren F1 Team steps out of his car during the Formula One Post-season test session at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 14 December 2021. EPA-EFE/ALI HAIDER

MANAMA, March 12 (Reuters) - McLaren can choose from at least three drivers to replace Covid-19-stricken Daniel Ricciardo at the Bahrain Grand Prix, team principal Andreas Seidl said on Saturday, even though he expects the Australian to be fit in time for next weekend's Formula One season-opener.

The 32-year-old missed the opening two days of the final pre-season test in Bahrain after feeling unwell and then tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday evening, ruling him out of Saturday’s final day of action.

Seidl, who was quoted by German publication Auto, Motor und Sport as saying Ricciardo would have to isolate until the evening of March 17, said he was confident the Australian would be back behind the wheel in time for the March 18-20 grand prix.

But he said McLaren had Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries, reserve drivers for power unit supplier Mercedes, and Scot Paul di Resta as back-ups.

“In terms of reserve drivers, similar to previous years we have an agreement with Mercedes where we share reserve drivers,” Seidl told reporters at the Sakhir circuit on Saturday.

“We also have Paul di Resta, similar to last year, on standby in case it’s needed, but again, I expect Daniel to be back in good shape next week.”

Vandoorne, who raced for McLaren in 2017 and 2018 and now drives for Mercedes in the Formula E series, is scheduled to compete in the 1000 Miles of Sebring endurance race on the same weekend as the Bahrain Grand Prix.

De Vries, Vandoorne’s Formula E team mate, won the Formula Two title in 2019 but has never raced in Formula One.

Di Resta, who raced for Force India from 2011 to 2013, last competed in a Formula One race as a stand-in for Felipe Massa at Williams at the 2017 Hungarian Grand Prix.

Even if he is fit, Ricciardo will head into the Bahrain opener on the back foot.

He has had only a day and a half of experience, chalked up during the first pre-season test in Barcelona, in a car that has been designed to the most radical rules overhaul in decades.

“It definitely puts us and Daniel on the back foot as well,” Seidl said. “But in the end that’s something Daniel couldn’t control, we simply have to accept that’s how it is.”

(Reporting by Abhishek Takle; editing by Clare Fallon)

By Abhishek Takle

Gallery

"Information pertaining to Covid-19, vaccines, how to control the spread of the virus and potential treatments is ever-changing. Under the South African Disaster Management Act Regulation 11(5)(c) it is prohibited to publish information through any medium with the intention to deceive people on government measures to address COVID-19. We are therefore disabling the comment section on this article in order to protect both the commenting member and ourselves from potential liability. Should you have additional information that you think we should know, please email [email protected]"

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

A South African Hero: You

There’s a 99.7% chance that this isn’t for you. Only 0.3% of our readers have responded to this call for action.

Those 0.3% of our readers are our hidden heroes, who are fuelling our work and impacting the lives of every South African in doing so. They’re the people who contribute to keep Daily Maverick free for all, including you.

The equation is quite simple: the more members we have, the more reporting and investigations we can do, and the greater the impact on the country.

Be part of that 0.3%. Be a Maverick. Be a Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

MavericKids vol 3

How can a child learn to read if they don't have a book?

81% of South African children aged 10 can't read for meaning. You can help by pre-ordering a copy of MavericKids.

For every copy sold we will donate a copy to Gift of The Givers for children in need of reading support.