Liam Lawson

Lawson’s hopes of return dwindle as RB are “very happy with both drivers”

Formula 1

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Liam Lawson’s hoped of making a full-time return to Formula 1 appear to be fading as RB have indicated they are satisfied with their current driver line-up.

The team’s CEO Peter Bayer indicated they are not looking to change their current pairing of Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda next year.

Tsunoda has been part of Red Bull’s second team, previously known as AlphaTauri, since 2021. Experienced race-winner Ricciardo joined him at the team this year but Tsunoda has been the team’s leading points-scorer.

Bayer has seen a difference in Tsunoda’s approach outside the car and said his driver has calmed down his often emotional outbursts on the radio.

“I definitely believe he has made a big step forward,” said Bayer. “It’s physical preparation, but it’s also his mental readiness to perform and deliver.

“One example I mentioned the other day: I think he simply understood that every time he would be swearing on the radio, that would cost him a tenth. So he’s got himself under control.

“He’s extremely professional in the work that he’s putting into the feedback with the engineers. And yes, he definitely made a big step up.”

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Bayer said he’s keen to keep Tsunoda in the team’s line-up for next season. “We’re very happy with both of our drivers,” he said. “And honestly, we’re not wasting time with discussing ifs and whens.

Liam Lawson, AlphaTauri, Singapore, 2023
Lawson scored points for RB last year, when they competed as AlphaTauri
“We have a very strong line-up. We have a great reserve driver. We have great talent coming through F2, F3. Currently, it’s all about focusing on performance – the focus is more on Aston Martin in front of us than on driver discussions.”

Lawson made his F1 debut last year as a substitute for five races while Ricciardo recovered from an injury. He impressed with ninth place in Singapore, his first points finish, and the team’s best result of the season at the time.

However Lawson is not racing in any category this year. He is working as a reserve driver and conducting a simulator programme for Red Bull and RB.

“Liam is an extremely valuable member to the team,” said Bayer. “He’s with us every weekend, obviously. He’s doing a lot of work in the simulator.

“But as I said before, currently we have two drivers in the cars. We are finding performance with the two. And we really do not discuss the 2025 situation, perhaps because we’re in a luxury situation of having that strong grassroot pyramid behind us. So the focus is really on track and on the next couple of races until definitely the summer break.”

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner indicated Lawson faces competition the rest of the team’s roster of drivers.

“They’re all Red Bull Racing drivers, and we’re only at race eight, so there’s still plenty of time. It’s good to see the youngsters performing well, and it’s good to have that competition as well.

“Liam is undoubtedly keen to get back into a race situation. The drivers in Formula 2 are performing well at the moment, Formula 3 likewise. So we have a strong vein of talent.”

Red Bull has Isack Hadjar in Formula 2, Ayumu Iwasa in Japanese Super Formula and three drivers in Formula 3 among others in more junior series.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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20 comments on “Lawson’s hopes of return dwindle as RB are “very happy with both drivers””

  1. Red Bull organization ultimately decides who drives for the B-team, although I’m still skeptical about Ricciardo’s continuation beyond the season’s end.

    1. I would indeed switch him with Ricciardo as per the next race. Let Ricciardo do marketing/pr work for the teams or put him in a commentary box. He will be of added value there. Gives Coulthard the possibility to retire as well.

  2. It’s sad Red Bull which was a very good provider of terrific drivers in F1 is in this state of numbness.

  3. Lawson is probably a pretty limited driver anyway, but I do like change (especially in such a stale F1 as it is right now). The sad truth is that more promising talents from lower categories than Liam won’t get their chance at all, and when someone does get to try, it’s always someone who can’t even fight for the F2 title, not by a long shot (like Lawson or now Bearman).

  4. It’s criminal that Lawson still hasn’t been offered a seat anywhere. I stand by my words.. He is a better driver than both those currently occupying the RB seats. I just hope somebody will show faith in him.

    1. It’s criminal that much, much better F2 drivers than Lawson are rarely (basically never besides Ollie) mentioned as in the mix for F1 seats while Lawson, a second year F2 driver who couldn’t outscore F2 rookie Logan Sargeant, is given all this hype. Hype that basically arose from the fact that Sky/F1 TV always cheerlead any rookie who doesn’t make a fool of himself. His big break through that created all the hype wasn’t that impressive when one looks a bit closer: a P9 after starting P10 thanks to the long odds of six cars that were going to finish ahead of him having the misfortune of a) being booted off the track (half of them by Perez) b) having mechanical failures (like Ocon and Alonso) or c) George doing his usual barrier bouncing + Sainz keeping the field at a glacial pace.

      Before Lawson, let’s see Drugovich, Doohan, Maloney, Aaron, Hauger, Hadjar, Porchaire, Vesti, Martins, Mick, etc.

      I am not bothered if Ricciardo is replaced next season, but I really don’t see why people think Lawson is owed a drive. I think Tsunoda is crushing it this season and making a solid, but uninspiring Ricciardo look worse than he has. I would have liked to see Lawson put in IndyCar or doing something this season to at least round him out and see him measured against some known quantities, unlike Super Formula.

      I know there are a lot of big Lawson believers on this site and maybe he really is that good. IMO though, I simply don’t get what he’s done to merit such optimism. I do understand all the Kiwis cheerleading him though. It’d be a lot of fun for them.

      1. It may or may not be true, but in either way I can’t understand why they keep running good old Daniel instead of giving further chance to either Lawson or other young drivers they find promising.

  5. I think Perez needs to go. Put Sainz on that seat and bring Lawson in Ricciardo’s.

  6. Red Bull’s junior team currently has a driver on his 4th season with the team and another one that races for 13 years, yet the actual junior driver has to wait for a spot to open.

    Maybe they should buy another team and make it their 3rd so junior drivers can have a go. They for sure have better chances on doing that than Andretti of getting in.

    1. JR Love (@dermechaniker)
      29th May 2024, 18:09

      Maybe they should buy an entire series and we can have Formula Red Bull.

      1. I’d watch that. It would be all about the drivers and the set-up, like in F3 and F2. You could have different team managers, different team names, and Red Bull could be the umbrella that funds everything. It would probably be a success!

    2. Yeah, the transformation of their second team, which was always objectionable but at least had a distinct purpose, into a dump for the obligatory Japanese driver and someone saved from involuntary retirement is disappointing.

      In return for this unique and arguably unfair privilege of running two teams, Red Bull has a responsibility to F1 to use their second team ‘as intended’ and bring young talent into F1.

  7. Tsunoda has been surprisingly good this year, and even though Ricciardo has been slightly disappointing, he hasn’t been terrible either, so I could understand if the team would want to continue with both drivers.

    Lawson did a good job in an unfamiliar car last year (similar to De Vries in his Monza outing for Williams), but I have seen nothing to suggest that he is a special talent and ‘should’ be on the F1 grid.

  8. The Dolphins
    29th May 2024, 21:11

    Tsunoda will be out at the end of 2025 and is driving at his best currently, no need to replace him. RB are likely planning on Lawson replacing Tsunoda and hoping Ricciardo gets his form back over the course of this season and is a handy driver to have for development feedback. It’s undoubtedly frustrating for Lawson to keep waiting on the sideline for another season, it’s a shame Red Bull has only two teams in F1.

    1. Well over half a season of races for Daniel with 2 points scoring results is ridiculously bad

      1. Ridiculously bad is a massive exaggeration. The grid is so close there have been times he’s been within half a tenth of Yuki in quali and it cost him so many grid spots it basically meant it’d require a miracle to score while for Yuki, it meant having a great race to hang on to the points. Basically, I think DR is putting average drives that due to expectations and how great Yuki has looked, make him look likes he’s doing worse than he is. While for a weekend or two Yuki pulled unacceptable quali gaps, now DR manages to pull within a tenth when it seems Yuki has produced some ridiculous margin.

        In the end though, when you’re looking at a driver who edged Max on points, qualis, poles and tied on wins over three seasons, these results just look depressing. IMO, if DR can’t basically be ahead of Yuki as often as he’s behind by the end of the season, I’d hang it up if I were him. But I’m not him. Maybe a driver who doesn’t smash the car up often, puts in an odd podium adjacent thriller and (as much as people mock him for having fans) has a lucrative fanbase is what RB is looking for in their #2 driver. We’ve seen how much worse it can be.

  9. But as I said before, currently we have two drivers in the cars. We are finding performance with the two.

    Tsunoda yes, a definite improvement this year
    Ricciardo, hmm, if he’s “seeing performance” there, I’d love to know what he’s watching, because there’s lots of us out aren’t seeing anything worthy of note. One outlier P4 run in a sprint and the rest of it being outclassed by his teammate.

  10. Michael Keith
    30th May 2024, 11:55

    Ricciardo must have pictures of Horner that he does not want Geri to see!

  11. Perez & Riccardo are overstaying their welcome these days. Surely it’s time to give some fresh & promising talent a go.

Comments are closed.