Liam Lawson admits it was “disappointing” to find out he would not race for AlphaTauri next year, but is determined to secure a full-time place on the Formula 1 grid.Daniel Ricciardo was injured in a crash during practice. Lawson will continue to drive for the team this weekend as Ricciardo is not ready to return in Qatar.
However during the last race weekend at Suzuka AlphaTauri announced Ricciardo will remain alongside Yuki Tsunoda in their driver line-up for 2024.
“Obviously my goal is to be in F1 full-time, so as much as it’s disappointing, it’s still my goal, and it’s now about trying to make sure that I can make that happen in the future,” said Lawson.
He has impressed the team with his performances during his four races so far, in which time he scored AlphaTauri’s best result of the season to date with ninth place in the Singapore Grand Prix.
“Right now, I’ve still got this opportunity to keep trying to show something, and I’ll try to make the most of it,” said Lawson. “For now, as long as this lasts, I’ll focus on it.”
Lawson expects Ricciardo will be back in the car before the final round of the Super Formula series, which clashes with an F1 race.
“Once I step back from F1, it’ll be full focus on preparing for the final round of the Super Formula championship at Suzuka on the weekend of the Mexican Grand Prix,” Lawson continued. “It’ll be very different adjusting back to the car, but it’s certainly been useful having driven so many laps at Suzuka throughout the grand prix weekend.”
He will face a particularly tough challenge this weekend as he has never raced at the Losail International Circuit before and will only have a single hour of practice to prepare as it is a sprint race event.
“That makes it quite tricky, especially in my situation,” Lawson said. “I’ve never driven here, so going into the sprint weekend will be extra-tough.
“I drove the Qatar track in the simulator at the end of last week. It’s very fast, a very high-speed circuit and quite unique, and I’ve not seen many tracks like it, as there’s only one low-speed corner in the whole track. The rest is just fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh gear, so I think it’s going to be exciting to drive.
“With only one free practice session, we drivers will have to know where to improve because it’ll get faster at night when it’s much cooler, and we need to know exactly how to extract everything out of the car. I’m expecting it to be tougher than the races we’ve just done.”
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