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Liam Lawson

Why Lawson is testing Verstappen's Red Bull

Liam Lawson is in the Red Bull for a filming day at Silverstone on behalf of Red Bull on Tuesday, July 9, as doubt grows over the futures of Sergio Perez and Daniel Ricciardo.

Lawson Monaco
Analysis
To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool

A lot has been made about Liam Lawson's filming day at Silverstone, with the New Zealander taking a seat in Max Verstappen's RB20. 

Lawson is permitted to cover 200 kilometres - about 33 laps of the full grand prix track, and will also be behind the wheel of the 2022 AlphaTauri later in the month.

The result? Much speculation, as the link to the dire situations of Sergio Perez and Daniel Ricciardo is quickly made. 

Red Bull is keen for both of those drivers to show a sharp up-tick in form before the summer break, with Lawson lurking for a seat.

Red Bull Christian Horner shut down the importance of Lawson's RB20 run, stating that it had been planned for months, but acknowledged that Perez was "obviously" under pressure following a poor run of form.

This is important as Perez's form has nosedived in recent races, scoring just 11 points in the six races since Imola, with Red Bull coming under renewed threat from McLaren and Mercedes in the Constructors' championship.

RacingNews365 understands that Perez has two clauses in his contract that could see him benched by Red Bull during the summer break. 

The Mexican cannot be more than five places and 100 points behind Max Verstappen in the standings after the Belgian Grand Prix - in two races time.

As it stands after the British GP, Perez is 137 points behind leader Verstappen in sixth place in the standings, just seven and eight points respectively ahead of the resurgent George Russell and Lewis Hamilton. 

Lawson in the Red Bull

Is it a certainty that Red Bull will make such a drastic decision? Certainly not, but it is helpful for the team and drivers to know exactly where they stand in the pecking order, with Lawson not entirely clear about his placing. 

During his five-race stand-in for the injured Ricciardo in 2023, Lawson impressed, banking two points for ninth place in Singapore - but felt aggrieved to miss out to Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda for a RB race seat this season.

The situation could be perceived as reminiscent of this time 12 months ago when Ricciardo was given a test at Silverstone after the British GP in the RB19. 

It went so well that the under-performing Nyck de Vries was immediately dropped in favour of the Australian. 

This test is a good way for Red Bull to also evaluate if Lawson is ready to take over Perez's seat, with the incumbent recently having signed a two-year extension to his deal, featuring the clauses out-lined above.

Lawson is also the obvious candidate for the filming day, given he is the Red Bull and RB reserve and test driver. 

Given F1 has just come off the back of a triple-header across Spain-Austria-Britain and is in the middle of a run of five races in six weeks before the summer break, it makes sense to allow Verstappen, Perez, Ricciardo and Tsunoda time to rest, especially with the appearances lined up for the Goodwood Festival of Speed across the coming weekend.

			© Red Bull Content Pool
	© Red Bull Content Pool

Contracts

Lawson has indicated that he would be prepared to leave the Red Bull family if he is not handed a race-seat in one of the four seats for 2025. 

Audi chief Andreas Seidl has the Kiwi high on his shopping list if Carlos Sainz does not opt to join the team, with Red Bull aware of the interest.

It must use Lawson or lose him.

If it is not to be at Red Bull for Lawson, a seat alongside Tsunoda at RB would be the other option, with doubts swirling around Ricciardo's long-term future, especially from motorsport advisor Helmut Marko who hinted before the Austrian GP that he wanted Lawson in the car for 2025.

All in all, then, a very interesting period is dawning for Red Bull, who cannot afford not  to give Lawson a chance, which only adds more intrigue to the filming day.

The pure results from the test are usually closely-guarded, but should Lawson be in either the Red Bull or RB in a race seat post the summer break, then the results would speak for themselves...

Also interesting:

In the latest podcast, Ian, Sam and Nick discuss the British GP and Hamilton's emotional return to winning ways. Hamilton's journey since 2021 is discussed, as is Lando Norris' BIGGEST hurdle and Sergio Perez entering the Red Bull danger zone!

Rather watch than listen to the podcast? Click here.

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