Three drivers have reportedly been shortlisted by McLaren to replace Daniel Ricciardo in the season-opener set to take place this Sunday.
Ricciardo has been battling a positive covid test and while his early symptoms were quite severe, the team has reported that he is doing much better now.
However, the Australian driver was unable to participate in the final pre-season test in Bahrain and with less than a week left for the new season to get underway, McLaren understandably wants to assess its options.
Ricciardo is currently following local protocol and is in isolation at the moment.
“Under these regulations, Daniel will be released in time for next weekend’s Grand Prix,” the team told GrandPrix News.
Ricciardo in a race against time
If Ricciardo is unable to get back to full fitness within the next couple of days, the team will undoubtedly appoint a substitute to line up alongside Lando Norris.
“That is where our agreement with Mercedes comes into play,” team boss Andreas Seidl confirmed.
“Either Nyck de Vries or Stoffel Vandoorne would sit in the car.”
A third name has also been thrown into the list of potential replacements.
It is believed that McLaren has contacted Alpine to enquire about the availability of their reserve driver Oscar Piastri.
“They wouldn’t even have to change the flag on the car,” team boss Otmar Szafnauer said, referring to Piastri’s Australian nationality.
“It would be great if Oscar could gain some experience like that if McLaren needs him, but he’s our reserve driver first and foremost,” he added.