Liam Lawson makes ‘frustrating’ admission about wait for an F1 break

Thomas Maher
Liam Lawson, RB, 2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Liam Lawson at the 2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Liam Lawson is playing the patient game as he wants to see whether Red Bull award him a racing seat for the 2025 season.

Lawson was overlooked for a race seat in 2024, despite massively impressing during a short substitution run of races late last year as AlphaTauri called upon his services to replace the injured Daniel Ricciardo.

Liam Lawson: There’s no set timeline for my future

The Red Bull junior driver was called up to replace Ricciardo at the Dutch Grand Prix when the Australian broke his metacarpal in a crash during practice at Zandvoort.

Like Oliver Bearman at Ferrari at last weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Lawson was thrown in the deep end with no proper preparation as he made his F1 debut in less than ideal circumstances.

But while points weren’t possibly for Lawson immediately, the Kiwi driver impressed by showing good pace and keeping his nose clean – but points would follow at the gruelling Singapore Grand Prix as he finished in ninth place.

Despite this being AlphaTauri’s best result of the season at that point, Lawson couldn’t quite sway Red Bull enough to give him a full-time racing seat. Instead, Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda were given the nod to head up the newly renamed RB squad for 2024.

Lawson remains on the sidelines this year, watching forlornly on as he has no confirmed racing programme in 2024. All the right things have been said by Helmut Marko, with the Austrian telling Newstalk ZB: “He just has to be patient and his time will come.

“We already have a contract with Sergio Perez, Yuki Tsunoda, and also with Daniel Ricciardo which goes till the end of 2024.”

But with all three facing contract negotiations for 2025, Lawson said he hasn’t yet been given an indication as to what’s happening with his future.

“Honestly, there’s no set timeline for my future,” Lawson told Australian publication Speedcafe.

“There’s nothing set in stone, obviously, with my future. Basically, for me, it’s about staying ready and hopefully, we have some opportunity coming.”

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With Lawson’s presence keeping the pressure on the race drivers at RB and Red Bull, the Kiwi is not going to be able to make an appearance in a practice session without being picked as a full Grand Prix entrant.

This is because Lawson’s five-race stint last year prevents him from taking part in the free practice sessions mandated for every team – all 10 squads must hand over two first practice sessions to rookie drivers.

A ‘rookie’ is defined as a driver with two Grand Prix starts or fewer, meaning Lawson can’t drive either the RB20 or the VCARB01 for this requirement.

“I still feel like a rookie,” Lawson explained about his situation.

But, without a racing programme, how is Red Bull keeping Lawson sharp?

“It’ll basically be mostly simulator work, and then going to all the races with the team as reserve.”

The Kiwi driver said that his short stint as a Grand Prix driver last year has given him the confidence to know he can succeed, but needs that first opportunity to start establishing himself on the grid.

“Obviously, it gives you confidence in yourself,” he said.

“Every driver, at this level anyway, has enough self-belief to be in Formula 1 – you have to have it even to come close.

“But it’s different because obviously I always imagine what it would be to [like] drive in Formula 1.

“Now I know what it’s like. It’s a different perspective. I’ve had the smallest little taste of it, yeah, so it’s a different perspective.

“It definitely makes it more frustrating.”

In better news for Lawson, both Tsunoda and Ricciardo have had somewhat difficult starts to the season, with Tsunoda bringing unwanted attention on himself after losing his temper at a team order issued to him in Bahrain.

Ricciardo, who finished ahead due to that team order, had a largely anonymous race in Saudi Arabia as he toiled away at the back before a late spin all by himself, with Marko urging him to pull up his socks.

“There’s a lot at stake this season for both Yuki and Daniel,” Marko said.

“Yuki’s qualifying performance was very good and Ricciardo has to come up with something soon.”

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