Christian Horner has hinted that Liam Lawson will be a full-time Formula 1 driver in the future, after the New Zealander missed out on a seat for next year.
During the Japanese Grand Prix weekend, AlphaTauri confirmed that Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo will continue as its line-up into the new season.
Lawson has been substituting for Ricciardo after the eight-time Grand Prix winner picked up an injury at Zandvoort in August and has been unable to return while his broken hand heals.
The Kiwi impressed to take points in the Singapore Grand Prix, having taken finishes of 13th, 11th, 9th, and 11th in his four races so far in the AT04 alongside Yuki Tsunoda.
But with all the Red Bull seats taken for 2024, and only the second Williams seat alongside Alexander Albon still open, Lawson has committed to a third and reserve driver role for Red Bull/AlphaTauri in 2024.
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Speaking to media including RacingNews365 before AlphaTauri’s driver line-up was made public, Horner heaped praise on Lawson.
“I think he's done an outstanding job,” Horner said. “I mean, dropped in the rain in Zandvoort, that was a bit of an eye opener for him.
“I thought he did well there and then a week later in Monza, he was unlucky to miss out on a point.
“Then seeing Singapore for the first time and scoring a couple of points. He's a gritty racer, we know that about him.
“I think he's grabbed this opportunity in Formula 1 that very seldom drivers get – a chance to demonstrate his talent.
“H’s done a tremendous job and certainly has put himself firmly on the radar and cemented the feeling that we had about him.
“We’ve got a luxury problem, where we've got three into two into that team.
“Obviously, it’s an AlphaTauri issue, but you know, there are three great drivers and it's a nice headache to have. He will be a Grand Prix driver.
“He already is a Grand Prix driver, you know, at some stage.
“Whether he has to wait a little for that or not, then.. I think he's demonstrating that that he is a talent for the future.”