Red Bull hint at new ‘permanent driver’

Helmut Marko on Liam Lawson: “Maybe he’ll get a permanent seat” – Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has hinted that the 21-year-old New Zealand driver, who is currently filling in for Daniel Ricciardo, could get his chance next year.

While confirmations of seats have been pouring in over the last few weeks, one team remains without a member for next season: AlphaTauri. For one thing, Yuki Tsunoda, already in his fourth season with the Faenza-based Scuderia, has not yet officially renewed his contract, which expires at the end of the season.

However, it would be surprising to see Red Bull part company with the Japanese driver, who has been in good form this season, given the low-performance car at his disposal.


On the other side of the garage, Daniel Ricciardo wants to find his way back to a seat at Red Bull in 2025, but is also not certain of being retained by the little sister as a starter.

There is also a third man who could claim a place on the grid next year. Young Liam Lawson, a member of the Red Bull Junior Team, was designated as AlphaTauri’s reserve driver but was not given the opportunity to take Nyck de Vries’ place when the Dutchman was sacked.



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Two races, Lawson impresses

In his very first race weekend, Lawson demonstrated his mettle. Despite having just a single practice session to get acclimated to the car before qualifying, he outpaced his teammate, Yuki Tsunoda. This was a noteworthy achievement, signaling his immense potential within the Red Bull family.

However, the true test of Lawson’s prowess came in Monza, where circumstances were far from ideal. On the way to the starting grid, Tsunoda’s car encountered a failure, leading to a 20-minute delay in commencing the race. As a result, Lawson found himself as the sole AlphaTauri representative on the track. This unfortunate turn of events denied us the opportunity to make a direct comparison with his teammate’s performance.

In the Italian Grand Prix, Lawson finished in 11th place, narrowly missing out on securing a point for his team. His performance was particularly commendable considering AlphaTauri’s unconventional decision to employ a two-stop strategy, while most other drivers opted for a single pit stop. Finishing a mere five seconds behind Valterri Bottas in 11th place, it’s clear that had Lawson followed the same strategy as the drivers ahead of him, he would have been in contention for scoring valuable points.


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Marko: “He may get a permanent seat…”

These recent F1 races could put him in contention for a seat alongside the Japanese driver Tsunoda next year, especially as he regularly receives praise from Dr Helmut Marko, the head of Red Bull’s driver development programme.

The Austrian recently told Austrian channel Servus TV that a title in Japan could open the doors for Lawson. A title he can win.

“It may mean he gets a permanent seat in F1 instead of a reserve driver role. That can happen quickly.”

“He has shown that he is good enough to compete in Formula 1 and now he needs to confirm that progress in the next few races,” adds Marko. And that’s just as well for the young New Zealander, who will get another chance to show his worth, as his interim in the top flight is set to be extended, with Daniel Ricciardo not yet fit.



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Lawson in a good position

Currently competing in Japan’s Super Formula series, Lawson finds himself in a championship that closely mirrors the characteristics of F1 machines, providing invaluable experience. Leading the championship, Lawson is a strong contender for the title as the season reaches its climax with a thrilling double-header in Suzuka at the end of October.

One intriguing prospect on Lawson’s horizon is the chance to drive the AlphaTauri F1 car during the Japanese Grand Prix weekend, which conveniently takes place just a week before the Super Formula finale at Suzuka. This opportunity could offer him a significant advantage over his Japanese-based competitors.


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Christian Horner, the Red Bull team principal, hinted at Lawson’s eagerness to step into the AlphaTauri seat at Suzuka.

He stated, “I should think he’s pretty keen to be in the car in Suzuka. We’ll just take it on a day-by-day basis and see how the recovery [of Daniel] and nature takes its course.”

This tantalizing prospect could be a defining moment in Liam Lawson’s burgeoning career, as he continues to make waves in the world of Formula 1.

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2 responses to “Red Bull hint at new ‘permanent driver’

  1. He’s definitely shown to be worthy of a full-time drive for next season & while you got the timing for the final Super Formula round correct, you still got the Japanese GP timing incorrect, which is September 22-24, so five weeks before as you pointed out previously.
    If the Japanese GP took place a week before, the US GP at COTA couldn’t occur on that weekend as scheduled.

  2. Pingback: Red Bull hint at new ‘permanent driver’ - Formula Bull·

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