Shock Daniel Ricciardo rumours addressed as Toto Wolff misses Japanese GP – F1 news round-up

Henry Valantine
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff. F1 news

Toto Wolff will be missing the Japanese Grand Prix for a pre-planned absence, but will still be wired into everything that's happening.

Monday’s F1 news was packed with further reaction to the Australian Grand Prix, as well as other headlines to emerge from the paddock.

If you missed anything from the day, don’t panic, we’ve got the main headlines for you right here condensed into one place.

F1 news round-up – 25 March 2024

Toto Wolff to miss Japanese Grand Prix

On the heels of Mercedes’ first result without any points since the 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, we have received confirmation that Toto Wolff is set to miss the next race in Japan.

This was a pre-planned absence from before the weekend at Albert Park as the Mercedes team boss looks to balance his calendar, with the F1 schedule expanding ever further beyond what it has before.

As has been the case when he has missed races before, he will still be fully wired into proceedings from home in Monaco, with his duties divided between other senior Mercedes figures trackside.

Read more: Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff to miss the Japanese Grand Prix

Liam Lawson rumours swirl, but Daniel Ricciardo F1 seat safe

Multiple reports emerged on Monday that Daniel Ricciardo’s F1 future may be on the line after a difficult start to the 2024 season, with Liam Lawson waiting in the wings as reserve driver for both Red Bull and RB.

After investigation, however, understands that these reports are premature, and while he has been given instructions to improve, he is not in danger of losing his seat any time soon.

Lawson’s own management team also have come forward to say Lawson has not been advised by Red Bull of any such moves, and the Kiwi driver has had no contact with media or made any comment regarding a possible move into Ricciardo’s seat.

Read more: Latest update on Daniel Ricciardo’s F1 future as Liam Lawson return rumours swirl

Daniel Ricciardo to vacate his seat for FP1 in Suzuka

Staying on the theme of the Honey Badger, Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko confirmed in a column for Speedweek that the team plans on running Red Bull junior Ayumu Iwasa in an RB for FP1 at Suzuka.

It would fulfil one of their mandatory rookie slots for free practice, and it would give the crowd in attendance the chance to see two home drivers running at Suzuka on Friday 5th April.

Iwasa has moved across to compete in the highly-competitive Super Formula series in Japan after two seasons in Formula 2, where he finished fourth in the standings last year.

Read more: Confirmed: Red Bull junior to take Daniel Ricciardo’s seat in FP1 at Japanese GP

Fred Vasseur not talking about 2025 in celebrating Carlos Sainz victory

With Carlos Sainz, as he put it, currently “jobless” for next season, Fred Vasseur was not getting drawn into talk about next season when celebrating his current driver’s win in Melbourne – with Spanish media openly questioning Ferrari’s decision to part ways with him at the end of this season.

“I’m not going to talk about next year,” Vasseur told Spanish broadcaster DAZN.

“We reached an agreement with Carlos a few weeks ago to focus only on this championship and not talk about the future.

“There are still twenty races to do, which are twenty opportunities to win. We have to focus on that.”

Read more: Fred Vasseur shuts down Carlos Sainz talk as Spanish media cries foul over exit’s conclusions from the Australian Grand Prix

With the fallout from the Australian Grand Prix now settled, our own Oliver Harden has dissected the weekend’s action to pull together his post-race conclusions.

From wondering about where Carlos Sainz could, or perhaps should place his future from 2025, to even considering if Lewis Hamilton should think about a Fernando Alonso-style sabbatical for the rest of the season to prepare for his Ferrari move after what he described as his “worst ever” start to a season, there is plenty to consider from the Australian Grand Prix weekend.

Have a read below and see what your takeaways are from the weekend.

Read more: Australian Grand Prix conclusions: Lewis Hamilton sabbatical? Carlos Sainz’s next move