McLaren announced last week that Ricciardo would not feature on the opening two days of testing after feeling unwell, before revealing on Friday he had tested positive for Covid-19.
The team remained confident that Ricciardo would be fit to race after reporting an improvement in his condition, and confirmed on Wednesday the Australian was now negative and clear to race.
“McLaren F1 Team confirms that after testing positive for Covid-19 during last week, Daniel has now returned a number of negative tests and will therefore return to the paddock on Thursday ready to compete in this weekend’s Bahrain GP,” an update from the team reads.
“Daniel has been feeling better each day as he continued to recover while in isolation following local regulations in Bahrain.”
Ricciardo has not driven the McLaren MCL36 car since the end of the first pre-season test in Barcelona last month after his symptoms ruled him out of the second test, leaving teammate Lando Norris to complete all of the team’s running.
McLaren announced last week that Alpine youngster Oscar Piastri had joined its pool of available reserve drivers ahead of the new season, but insisted it was not linked to any doubts over Ricciardo’s participation in Bahrain.
The team has a similar agreement in place with Mercedes to share its reserve drivers, Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries. De Vries will be on site in Bahrain while Vandoorne races at Sebring for the IMSA 12-hour race with Meyer Shank Racing.
Ricciardo was the eighth F1 driver known to have tested positive for Covid-19. Lewis Hamilton, Sergio Perez, Lance Stroll, Kimi Raikkonen and Nikita Mazepin all missed races in the past two years due to positive tests, while Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris and Pierre Gasly tested positive out of season.
Ricciardo will now take to the grid in Bahrain to start his second full season with McLaren, having scored the team’s first race win for almost nine years at the Italian Grand Prix back in September.