Liam Lawson outlined his plans for 2024, after failing to secure a Formula 1 drive, revealing he will be fully focused on his reserve role for both Red Bull and AlphaTauri.
The 21-year-old was thrown into the deep end, when he was called up to replace Daniel Ricciardo at AlphaTauri, after the latter broke his had following a crash in practice for the 2023 Dutch Grand Prix.
Lawson impressed when he deputized for Ricciardo and even managed to score a point in his third F1 race in Singapore where he finished ninth.
However that doesn’t seem to have been enough for the Red Bull big wigs to keep Lawson in a full-time F1 seat, as AlphaTauri confirmed Yuki Tsunoda and Ricciardo for 2024, while Red Bull has Max Verstappen and with Sergio Perez still on contract.
Lawson who will be a reserve driver for Red Bull and AlphaTauri in 2024, was racing in Japan’s Super Formula 1 before he was called to F1, and finished runner up. In 2023 he took part in Formula 2 and finished third in the standings.
Asked by the “Beyond The Grid” podcast about his plans for 2024, Lawson said: “Because I’ve raced in most championships and I’ve even been in F1, I can’t really go and do F2 again.
“There’d be no point. I can’t do Super Formula again. I could, but there’s less benefit from doing it. So I think it’s full focus on being reserve.
“That means a lot of simulator, which for me, I think is what helped getting into Formula 1 and adjusting to it so quickly. I’ve been two years now, nearly, as a reserve so I’ve done lots of simulator work over the last couple of years and that will just continue now into next year, and getting to learn and basically absorb being alongside the best team in Formula 1 right now. I get to sit through all the meetings and learn how they operate,” he explained.
When AlphaTauri signed Nyck De Vries, Lawson was having a bad F2 season
AlphaTauri started their 2023 F1 season with Nyck de Vries alongside Tsunoda, but the Dutchman was let go before the summer break after he failed to rise to the level he showed in Monza in 2022, when he replaced Williams’ Alex Albon – who had to undergo surgery – and scored points.
This means this is not the first time Lawson missed out on an F1 drive, but while admitting his frustration, he insisted he understood why Red Bull took those decisions, admitting his “shocking” F2 season was to blame.
He said: “I think what’s potentially helped through each scenario is, yes, it’s extremely frustrating, but I’ve been able to sit there and understand at the time of this decision, why this makes sense.
“That goes back to De Vries last year,” he pointed out. “At that point, we were having a shocking F2 season and we turned it around at the end, but it was all too late. I had a really good end to the season, I had good testing in F1, but by then the decision was made, so that’s frustrating.
“But at the time that the decision was made, I think I could sit there and understand why, just because of how my season was. I think this year as well, although I’m having a much better season, you have the option mid-season in a team that’s struggling quite a bit, you have the option of somebody who’s never been in Formula 1 to jump in mid-season or somebody who’s very experienced in Formula 1 and has won races.
“Again, it’s frustrating to take, but I can sit there and make sense of this decision and understand. It’s frustrating to not be driving next year, but I will continue to make the most of still being involved in Formula 1 at least.
“I’m a Red Bull driver. If I ever get a chance in Formula 1, it’ll be through Red Bull Racing. I think it would be Red Bull that give me my shot,” the Kiwi concluded.
Big Question: Should AlphaTauri have signed Liam Lawson for 2024?