Daniel Ricciardo warned ‘big likely vote’ with Liam Lawson waiting in the wings

Michelle Foster
Daniel Ricciardo and Liam Lawson with the RB badge

Could Daniel Ricciardo lose his RB seat to Liam Lawson?

Liam Lawson is the “big likely vote” to replace one of the RB drivers next season, CEO Peter Bayer has admitted – but it could still “potentially” happen this year amid Daniel Ricciardo’s patchy F1 2024 form.

Red Bull junior team RB lined up on the grid this season with Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda as their two drivers, with the team retaining Lawson in a reserve driver role despite last year’s substitute heroics.

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But although he wasn’t granted the F1 promotion that many felt he deserved Red Bull have, according to Marko, a contract with Lawson that means they either promote him next season or cut him loose.

Marko, though, went one further when he stated that it would “be exciting” to see Lawson race this season already.

“With Liam Lawson as a reserve driver, we obviously have a strong driver in the team who is contractually entitled to drive for another team if he doesn’t get a cockpit with us in 2025,” he told Kleine Zeitung.

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“In this respect, it would of course be exciting for us if we could see him in Formula 1 this year to get an even clearer picture. But it’s a complex issue, so we’ll have to see how things progress.”

That complex issue includes RB having three drivers in Ricciardo, Tsunoda and Lawson, with one of the current incumbents being a Red Bull race winner and the other backed by engine partner Honda.

Lawson is, however, RB boss Bayer’s first choice when – or “potentially” if – RB decide to part ways with either Ricciardo or Tsunoda.

“It’s very early days,” he told Speedcafe after the Chinese GP. “It depends a bit on how the global market is developing.

“If there is a change in our team, there’s a big likely vote for Liam to be the one.”

RB could yet say goodbye to Ricciardo or Tsunoda through either promotion to Red Bull’s senior team or they could be dropped by the Red Bull programme.

Today Bayer doesn’t know which way it could go, especially as there are other players in the game.

“Honestly, it’s too early,” Bayer said. “You don’t know how things are going at Red Bull.

“And when was it, when Fernando [Alonso] changed to Aston Martin? [It was] Like a game of chess, which was like simultaneous chess.”

As for the prospect of Lawson stepping up to a race seat this season, he added: “Potentially could happen this year, I guess.

“But he’s our reserve driver, we clearly said that he is out number one candidate for a seat, if there is a seat.”

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