Liam Lawson confirms remaining 2023 plans after F1 2024 ‘disappointment’

Thomas Maher
Red Bull and AlphaTauri reserve driver Liam Lawson in the paddock at Marina Bay. Singapore, September 2023.

Singapore: Red Bull and AlphaTauri reserve driver Liam Lawson in the paddock at Marina Bay. Singapore, September 2023.

Liam Lawson has reacted to the ‘disappointment’ of failing to land an F1 2024 race seat with AlphaTauri, and confirmed his 2023 plans.

Having come into F1 as a last-minute replacement for the injured Daniel Ricciardo during the Dutch Grand Prix, Lawson has quickly made a name for himself thanks to almost immediately matching the pace of experienced teammate Yuki Tsunoda.

Lawson has proven a fast and reliable pair of hands behind the wheel, racing with maturity and poise during his couple of Grands Prix, and even became a late contender for a full-time 2024 race seat off the back of his performances – including a points finish in Singapore.

Liam Lawson: My goal is to make it to F1 full-time

Over the Japanese Grand Prix, the news emerged that Lawson’s public quest for a full-time race seat in 2024 had failed – Red Bull choosing to remain with Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda for another year, and reverting Lawson back to the role of reserve for their two teams.

With the Kiwi remaining behind the wheel for this weekend’s Qatar Grand Prix as Ricciardo continues his recovery from a broken metacarpal, Lawson said he intends to focus on his remaining duties as Red Bull’s reserve, as well as securing the Super Formula title in Japan – after racing at Suzuka in F1 last time out, he’ll race there in the Japanese series’ finale later this month.

“In Japan, the news came public that I’m back to the role of reserve driver next year,” Lawson said in his preview of the Qatar Grand Prix.

“Obviously, my goal is to be in Formula 1 full-time, so as much as it’s disappointing, it’s still my goal, and it’s now about trying to make sure that I can make that happen in the future.

“Right now, I’ve still got this opportunity to keep trying to show something, and I’ll try to make the most of it.

“For now, as long as this lasts, I’ll focus on it, and then once I step back from F1, it’ll be full focus on preparing for the final round of the Super Formula championship at Suzuka on the weekend of the Mexican Grand Prix.

“It’ll be very different adjusting back to the car, but it’s certainly been useful having driven so many laps at Suzuka throughout the Grand Prix weekend.” recommends

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Liam Lawson expecting ‘tougher’ weekend in Qatar

While Lawson has taken to F1 with aplomb, he faces a huge challenge this weekend – his first ‘Sprint’ format event. With only a single 60-minute practice session to nail down a setup, Lawson’s inexperience may be a bigger hindrance than it has in the race weekends he’s done so far.

Despite this, he’s eager to get out on track, learn the Lusail Circuit as quickly as possible, and try to sign off on what is likely his last F1 race in 2023 on a high.

“I’m not sure how we’ll get on there or how the upgrades will work,” he said.

“I think it’s hard to say because where we struggled in Japan was mainly in the high speed, in Sector 1. We still have more to learn about our new package, and I’m not so sure that Qatar is the type of circuit that will suit our car.

“Learning takes time, and we’ve got more opportunities in Qatar to try and get the most out of it. However, it’s also a Sprint weekend, so at the same time, that makes it quite tricky, especially in my situation. I’ve never driven here, so going into the sprint weekend will be extra tough.

“I drove the Qatar track in the simulator at the end of last week. It’s very fast, a very high-speed circuit, and quite unique, and I’ve not seen many tracks like it, as there’s only one low-speed corner in the whole track.

“The rest is just fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh gear, so I think it’s going to be exciting to drive. With only one Free Practice session, we drivers will have to know where to improve because it’ll get faster at night when it’s much cooler, and we need to know exactly how to extract everything out of the car. I’m expecting it to be tougher than the races we’ve just done.”

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