Former Red Bull racer Pierre Gasly has outlined what he sees are the biggest challenges facing Liam Lawson during his year on the sidelines.
Kiwi racer Liam Lawson has become one of F1’s hottest properties, as he has impressed with stellar performances as a substitute for Daniel Ricciardo at AlphaTauri while the Australian is recovering from a broken metatarsal in his hand.
Scoring his maiden points in Singapore, there was a very real chance of Lawson usurping one of the current AlphaTauri drivers for 2024 – the team ultimately choosing to stick with their existing line-up while handing a reserve role to Lawson, a role he’ll also serve with the senior Red Bull team.
Pierre Gasly: Liam Lawson is ready to make the step for full-time F1
Lawson has enjoyed the backing of the likes of Christian Horner and the very difficult-to-impress Helmut Marko but, with a seat just not opening itself up in time, the rookie driver is facing a year on the sidelines – a scenario that Pierre Gasly says he will find difficult, now that he’s gotten used to being on the grid.
“I know how it feels,” Gasly told the Dutch subsidiary of Motorsport.com.
“It can be very difficult, when you have to be so competitive as a driver, which you also have to be in Formula 1. You have the will, the desire, and the motivation to go out there.
“It definitely feels like he is ready to make that step to drive a full season. I also personally think he deserves it, but he needs to be patient. That’s not nice to hear, but unfortunately, there is no other choice. I am sure we will see him in 2025.”
The suspicion is that Lawson has been guaranteed a seat with one of the two Red Bull teams for 2025, perhaps moving into a vacant cockpit at either team if and when one of the current drivers moves on or is replaced. Christian Horner has denied that Lawson has been guaranteed anything but, with a seat still possibly available at Williams, something is likely to have convinced Lawson to keep the faith and willingly sign up for a year of watching on.
Of course, there is still plenty Lawson can do to contribute to his employers during his year ‘off’, but Gasly said the situation he finds himself in will be most difficult in terms of maintaining discipline and self-motivation.
“It will be hardest for him to stay in the zone and maintain a strict lifestyle and, even if he doesn’t get the chance to drive often, he has to make the most of it when the opportunity arises,” the former Red Bull and AlphaTauri driver said.
“Being on the sidelines and sitting on the reserve bench for a whole year is never easy. You never know if you’ll feel like you did before. He’s fast, that’s the main thing. It’s not going to be easy.”