Qatar verdict looms for Liam Lawson as F1 ‘consumes’ Daniel Ricciardo deputy

Thomas Maher
AlphaTauri stand-in driver Liam Lawson at the Japanese Grand Prix.

AlphaTauri stand-in driver Liam Lawson at the Japanese Grand Prix.

Liam Lawson will be in Qatar, but will he racing for AlphaTauri or watching on from the sidelines?

Daniel Ricciardo has missed the last couple of Grands Prix, after breaking a metacarpal in his left hand following a practice crash at the Dutch Grand Prix at the end of August.

In his stead, Liam Lawson was given the nod to race the AlphaTauri and has impressed due to a mixture of confidence, speed, and ability to immediately match the pace of teammate Yuki Tsunoda – he even scored his maiden F1 points at the Singapore Grand Prix, one of F1’s toughest races.

Will Liam Lawson be racing at the Qatar Grand Prix?

Lawson’s impressive performances meant he became a late candidate for a full-time AlphaTauri seat for 2024, but was ultimately overlooked by Red Bull as they committed to Ricciardo and Tsunoda for next season.

The Kiwi racer will be the reserve driver for Red Bull and AlphaTauri for next season but has made it very clear he wants nothing less than a full-time seat – something he may have been promised for ’25, if rumours are to be believed.

But, while waiting on a full-time seat, Lawson still has to do his job of filling in for Ricciardo and, at the time of writing, it’s not yet confirmed whether it’ll be him or Ricciardo at the wheel of the AT04 this weekend at Lusail.

Driving with a race-by-race mindset as AlphaTauri have waited for Ricciardo to recover, the Qatar GP has been mooted as a possible return point for the Australian since he picked up his injury, but Christian Horner said last week that it’s looking “less likely than likely” that Ricciardo will come back for Qatar – he simply doesn’t need to rush the comeback, given he’s secure for 2024 and Lawson’s immediate future has been decided.

This means that Lawson is heading to Qatar this weekend, unsure of whether he’ll be racing or watching on as back-up in case Ricciardo encounters some niggles that could prevent him from having a comfortable weekend.

PlanetF1.com recommends

F1 2024 driver line-up: Who is confirmed for next season’s grid?

Red Bull junior team: The 12 drivers looking to rise through the ranks to F1

Liam Lawson: F1 is consuming my life

Having had the unexpected opportunity to make his debut in Formula 1, and capture the attention of a large fanbase immediately, Lawson admitted that the sport has consumed his life ever since he got the call up to drive.

“It can be not good to just indulge yourself completely in Formula 1 and, every minute, you have to basically be studying onboards and data and looking at everything,” he said in Japan.

“I think that can also not be good for you, especially when you’re trying to sleep! It definitely doesn’t help, so for sure we’ve been using up making the most of the time that we have to try and prepare for all these races.

“So it’s definitely something that once you’re in, it completely consumes your life. But it’s also something that I love.”

Read next: Key technical details reported for new-look F1 2026 challengers