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Liam Lawson

Why top talent Lawson risks being left out of F1

RB reserve driver Liam Lawson is at risk of missing out on a Formula 1 seat for the 2025 season.

Lawson
Article
To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool

Liam Lawson is at a risk of missing out on an F1 seat in 2025, with RB having a sizeable decision to make regarding the young driver's future. 

Silly season started early in Formula 1 this year. Lewis Hamilton announced in February that he would move to Ferrari in 2025, creating a shock wave in the driver market. 

What followed was a sudden hunt for seats, as over half of the grid had contracts expiring at the conclusion of 2024. 

Several driver moves for 2025 have already been announced following Hamilton's Ferrari announcement, for example, the Audi/Stake F1 signing of Nico Hulkenberg and Red Bull extending Sergio Perez's contract.

The most recent announcement was the contract extension of Yuki Tsunoda. The Japanese driver will continue to drive for RB for another year, keeping him at Red Bull's sister team for a fifth season. 

Secretly, his extension has big implications, as the team now has to make a choice between Daniel Ricciardo and Lawson. And that could be tricky...

Lawson's situation is well known. The New Zealander is part of the Red Bull junior programme and was allowed to drive five F1 races last year when Ricciardo suffered a hand fracture at Zandvoort. 

Lawson impressed, picking up points in the Singapore Grand Prix, making him an option for a full-time RB seat for this year. However, RB opted to keep Tsunoda for 2024 and offered Ricciardo a one-year deal.

Patience

As a result, Lawson has remained on RB's bench this campaign, although Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko previously stated the New Zealander would "definitely" have a 2025 seat. 

That, however, has now become a question mark. Ricciardo has not started the 2024 season as strongly as expected, resulting in recent pressure. Nevertheless, a real verdict on Ricciardo for next year has not yet followed. 

Add to that the fact that the Australian is starting to improve slightly - Ricciardo qualified fifth in Canada, for example, and picked up points despite a false start - and it is not certain that RB will choose Lawson just like that. 

Ricciardo, with his experience, also adds a lot off the track, especially in PR terms, not unimportant for a smaller team that has to stand on its own two feet.

Marko's words did not come out of the blue, by the way. The Austrian admitted there is a clause in Lawson's contract and he may look around if Red Bull does not offer him a seat. 

Lawson does not seem to be in the picture with any other team, though, as Audi, Williams, Alpine and Haas are all looking at other options.

And so there is a real chance that Lawson could be out of the picture altogether. Of course, he is certainly still a very important candidate for RB, but if that fails there are bitterly few alternatives.

RB team boss Laurent Mekies also revealed in Canada that the team was in no hurry to make an announcement regarding the second seat, which only further reduces Lawson's chances. 

As mentioned, silly season has erupted early and most drivers want clarity quickly. If RB waits, that could have major implications for Lawson.

Also interesting:

Max Verstappen hit back after an out-of-sorts Monaco GP, Sergio Perez floundered again - and into a controversial retirement. How much damage can Ferrari and McLaren inflict with Red Bull fighting with one hand tied behind its back, did the Milton Keynes-based team re-sign Perez too soon? After a thoroughly entertaining Canadian GP, host Nick Golding is joined by Ian Parkes and Samuel Coop to analyse all things.

Rather watch than listen to the podcast? Click here

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RESULTS 2024 F1 Hungarian Grand Prix - Qualifying