Liam Lawson, AlphaTauri, Zandvoort, 2023

Lawson admits disappointment at missing out on full-time F1 drive for 2024

Formula 1

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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.

The Super Formula racer was drafted into AlphaTauri at the Dutch Grand Prix after 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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Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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14 comments on “Lawson admits disappointment at missing out on full-time F1 drive for 2024”

  1. Coventry Climax
    4th October 2023, 11:32

    Sounds like a very down to earth person, which is exactly what an F1 team needs.
    I hope he does well. And if he does, that would make it even harder to ignore him for a seat, either still this or at least next year.

    1. Coventry Climax
      4th October 2023, 11:40

      Oh, I know, people will tumble all over me saying there’s hardly a seat left for 2024 anymore. Even so, things might maybe still change, despite what teams say they have decided. De Vries was supposed to be driving all year, initially, but kicked out nonetheless. Put him in the Williams for next year, on loan, for example.

      1. Independent teams serving others is a past thing & even otherwise, if Williams were a realistic option, Red Bull wouldn’t have announced him as a reserve driver alongside the Tsunoda-Ricciardo announcement, so that won’t happen in any case, so people should just be realistic with their expectations.

      2. I would opt to let Perez retire, replace him with Ricciardo and put Lawson next to Tsunoda. Tsunoda or Lawson will get burned next to Max, so Ricciardo seems to be the man as he has more of a Bottas profile and will deep down realise where his place is amongst the rest of the field and certainly vs the nr 1 driver in the team. I feel he will bring more Bottas than Perez to the team and can bring the car home 2nd way more than Perez has (and should have) done.

      3. Or RB could quickly snatch the opportunity of running Sauber (or Sauber running a third team for RB) as a billboard, in their interim years before Audi, and as an opportuninty of assessing more drivers. Many of those drivers could be quite good. Including Alonso, if he ever gets fed up with the Strolls or with their team, Vettel if he really wants to come back, Lawson, and maybe Iwasa. And of course possibly this could make way to some young and highly rated drivers towards the RB seat from outside the RB family, like Norris or Piastri with a higher chance. Not much before I would have mentioned Leclerc, but as I perceieve maybe the last some races was when Ferrari finally gave more support to Leclerc instead of doing what they have done in the last almost one and half season, and interestingly Sainz did well despite of this. I would not say that I consider Sainz now better, or now I consider Leclerc significantly worse than before, but yes, Leclerc should show who is better if he intends to stay in the “multiple world titles on expected value” category, reserved for very few only. Unless he does so, toxic people and not so caring/talentless managers will take on him, and will never support/discard him.

        Ricciardo: he is or was one of my biggest favorites for long. As a person he will remain being such one, but even if he returns for this season: the remaining part of the season can still be such a flop for him that no contractual obligation will keep him in F1 as a driver. To come up with a condition for this: If Lawson stays and does well for 1 or 2 race weeknds from now on, and if Ricciardo not matches Tsunoda and keeps on having errors, in the remaining part, then it is entirely possible for me. And then depending on the mood, the possible deterionrating in the relationship between Ricciardo and Red Bull, not seeing him as an RB brand ambassador, or PR machine is entirely possible as well. I think these latter two roles would be quite suitable for an unfit for F1 Ricciardo on the other hand. I think he arrived into F1 as an obvious talent, somewhat skyrocketed to the scene, and later on maybe he lost the “appropriate” or “functional in case of him” mindset due to the years of bad run, including the half last season at RB with horrible reliability. He is quite emotional, maybe he is just broken for good. It is nice to say positive words but, not everything is restorable. This is why the polar opposite attitude, ie: having no regret, little emotions can be quite/very functional for many.

        So I see this out of the seat for the entirety of 2024 for Lawson thing as something far from a done deal.
        To make a bit of fun of it, the case what we see is maybe similar to Kimi’s backpains at Lotus. Now one has to decide who is the one who is having pains RB or Ricciardo?

        Without any negativity: giving a bit more races to Lawson to have at about 1/3 of the season to prove himself, just like theoretically Ricciardo will have something like 1/3 season in 2023 as well is a good idea for multiple reasons. If Lawson does well in 1/3 season, then most likely he will not be a flop in later seasons either – unless the by then current formula of the car or tech rules is entirely bad for him. Also putting pressure on the rookie by not telling until how long he can stay is a good test of him. Also putting a similar amount of pressure on Ricciardo is a good way of testing him, functionality-wise it would be important to see what these years of bad runs have done to him.

        1. There is also the chance that Ricciardo gets back into the groove and Tsunoda is dropped before the 2024 summer break, or they might also put Tsunoda next to Max, at least give him a go in a good car before they send him off.

  2. If Perez keeps costing them money with all the incidents he is getting into lately, it won’t be long before Ricciardo moves up and Lawson can take the seat alongside Tsunoda.

  3. The big question for me is how long will Verstappen stay interested in driving F1 cars. It would seem to me that 6 or 7 or 8 F1 world championships is not his primary goal. His goal is to challenge himself and after 2024 with 4 F1 championships to his credit does he want to keep going doing the same again and again. He will lose motivation, get bored and look for fresh challenges.

    Verstappen is not a fan of the constant demands that a 22 race F1 calendar brings. He may look at other series less demanding on his time. Can totally see him doing guest appearances in Nascar, Le Mans, Bathurst, heck even Indycars, just for the fun and challenges.

    A full time Indy drive is not out of the question for a driver of his fortitude will want to conquer ovals and race the 500. Gannassi would love to run Verstappen in the 9 car when Dixon retires from Indycar duty.

    1. In this sense, he’s more like Alonso in the way that they’re pure racers and a drivers driver, always challenging themselves. I think it would be good for him to chase the triple crown after F1 while he is still capable. It would be cool to see ALO and VER at indy 500

      1. VER at Indy would be great and scary at the same time as he would take that serious doing a lot of simulation runs untill he master how to run that car. But it will be after his F1 periode as he is afraid for injuries at the oval and not to cintinue his normal season.

  4. I think Lawson has shown that he would be a decent replacement for Tsunoda. But Red Bull needs another solid junior driver.

  5. I drove the Qatar track in the simulator at the end of last week.

    Why just one session in the simulator? Is that normal? Is that sufficient to get a good result in the race? If that’s all that is needed, then that is good. Did Yuki and Sergio do just one session in the simulator? If you set someone up to fail, and they do fail, then haven’t they done what you wanted them to do? I hope Liam earns some good points this weekend.
    Kia Kaha.

    1. That is for a F1 driver enough to see if they can handle the load on his wrists & hands in Richards case. And for the drivers to get the track in memory that is all why they do that but expect more then 1 lap more like a race distance amount after that the current drivers know the track from memory.

      1. What they ALL do before entering a race after returning from the last race.

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