Liam Lawson has conceded the "extremely frustrating" decision by Red Bull and AlphaTauri to overlook him for a place on the F1 grid next season "makes sense".
The New Zealander turned heads during a substitute stint for the Faenza-based outfit between the Dutch Grand Prix and Qatar Grand Prix as Daniel Ricciardo recovered from a broken metacarpal in his left hand following a practice crash at Zandvoort.
Despite securing points at the Singapore Grand Prix and proving on numerous occasions he could match Yuki Tsunoda, Lawson will revert to his reserve role for next term, with a view to making the step up in 2025.
It is the third time he has been overlooked by Red Bull, who opted to put Nyck de Vries in the car alongside Tsunoda this term, only to swap him for Ricciardo at the Hungarian Grand Prix following a lacklustre start to the year.
Suggested to him that there were reasons for his non-selection, Lawson told the Beyond the Grid podcast: "That's what has potentially helped in each scenario: yes, it is extremely frustrating but I have been able to sit there and go 'I can understand at the time of this decision that this makes sense',
"If I go back to de Vries last year, we were having a shocking F2 season at that point - we turned it around at the end but it was all too late.
"That's frustrating but at the time the decision was made, I could sit there and understand why because of how my season was.
"This year as well, although I am having a much better season, you have the option midseason - in a team that's struggling quite a bit, at least with the car - somebody who has never been in F1 or somebody who is very experienced in F1 and has won races.
"So again, it is frustrating to take but I can sit there and go 'I can make sense of this decision'.
"I would say it is frustrating not to be driving next year but I will continue to make the most of still being involved in F1."
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Tough to step back
The decision means that Lawson will likely run a race-less schedule next season an instead, focus solely on his reserve work for Red Bull.
"I always want to be driving and before F1, it had been my whole life working towards it," explained Lawson.
"You always expect what it will feel like but you never really know what it's like in F1 until you actually drive, so you are always anticipating.
"Now that I have had the chance to be in it, it is definitely a different feeling stepping back. Now I know what it is like, I don't have to imagine anymore. To actually experience it has been amazing and amazing for my career but it is a little bit tough to step back."