While Daniel Ricciardo signed to Red Bull as a reserve driver for 2023, the Australian was not in attendance at the two opening races of the season.
This is not unexpected – given that team boss Christian Horner previously stated that Ricciardo would be at "some races" in his new role – but it does raise the question of who would have stepped in in the event of Max Verstappen or Sergio Perez being unable to compete.
Verstappen had been forced to delay his arrival into Jeddah for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix after suffering with a stomach bug earlier in the week.
The Dutchman was able to race and drove from P15 on the grid to P2 in Sunday's event, but team advisor Helmut Marko has since admitted that the World Champion was "not one hundred per cent fit".
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Horner clarifies reserve driver situation
When asked by RacingNews365.com about Red Bull's reserve driver situation following the race in Jeddah, Horner explained that Junior Driver Liam Lawson was on hand.
"Lawson was here anyway," Horner said.
"Obviously, Daniel Ricciardo is the premium choice, and he'll be in Australia for the next Grand Prix.
"But we knew that Max was looking fine. We just wanted to give him a rest coming into the weekend, because he'd had a pretty rough week last week."
New Zealander Lawson is currently competing in Super Formula after finishing third in the 2022 Formula 2 Championship. He also took part in Formula 1 Free Practice 1 sessions last year for both Red Bull and AlphaTauri.
Join RacingNews365.com journalists Michael Butterworth and Dieter Rencken, with new host Balve Baines, as they discuss the key talking points from the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.