Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has said it’s a “golden moment” for Liam Lawson to showcase his talents at AlphaTauri, with Daniel Ricciardo on the sidelines.
The Red Bull junior was called up at short notice at the Dutch Grand Prix after Ricciardo broke his hand in practice, with the Australian sharing a photo of his recovery on social media on Friday as he looks to get back on the grid as soon as possible.
Horner acknowledged at Monza that Ricciardo is unlikely to return in time for the Singapore Grand Prix, and heading to Suzuka a week later may also be an optimistic estimate, with AlphaTauri confirming Lawson will continue to deputise for as long as Ricciardo is absent.
Christian Horner assesses chances of a 2024 AlphaTauri seat for Liam Lawson
Additional reporting by Thomas Maher
Having only had a matter of hours to prepare for his first practice session in competitive circumstances in Formula 1 in the Netherlands, Horner was impressed with what he saw from the New Zealander on his debut weekend.
“Yes. I mean, in very difficult circumstances, in a car he’d never driven and having missed out on the Friday running, at a tricky track, in rainy conditions,” Horner told media including PlanetF1.com at Monza when asked if he was pleased at how Lawson fared at Zandvoort after his call-up.
“It was very tough for him, but I thought he acquitted himself very well, very maturely and he did a solid job during the race.
“So yeah, I think he ticked all the boxes.”
Lawson is currently second in the Super Formula standings over in Japan, which heads into its final round later in the year, but he has been widely touted as a candidate for a full-time drive at AlphaTauri for 2024 for most of the year so far.
When asked directly about how big a chance this is of securing a drive at Red Bull’s junior team next season, Horner kept the door very much open for the 21-year-old to perform.
“Well, it’s a great opportunity for him,” Horner said.
“I mean, for any driver to get themselves in a Grand Prix car, you’ve got to make the most of it – and this is a golden moment in his career, for him to demonstrate what he’s capable of.
“So, we’re obviously following his progress very closely and, you know, Daniel’s misfortune was Liam’s good fortune. So you know, it’s down to him to make the best use of it.”