RB three-driver conundrum: Marko’s Yuki Tsunoda reveal and Liam Lawson clause reminder

Michelle Foster
Daniel Ricciardo and Liam Lawson with the RB badge

Could Daniel Ricciardo lose his RB seat to Liam Lawson?

Having locked in Red Bull’s F1 2025 line-up, attention has now turned to RB but it’s not a case of three drivers fighting for two seats, it’s two fighting for one with Yuki Tsunoda “set.”

That’s according to Red Bull’s motorsport advisor Helmut Marko, who now has to choose between Liam Lawson and Daniel Ricciardo for the second seat.

Liam Lawson vs Daniel Ricciardo for the second RB seat?

Earlier this week, Red Bull ended speculation about Max Verstappen’s F1 2025 team-mate as the team confirmed Sergio Perez had signed a new two-year extension.

Staying at Red Bull through to end of the F1 2026 season, the team’s line-up for the foreseeable future is locked in as Verstappen still has four years to run on his contract.

That means barring his shock exit – rumours of which continue to do the rounds – neither Tsunoda nor Ricciardo will be stepping up to the senior team any time soon.

But the Red Bull driver conundrum doesn’t end there as they have three drivers seeking an F1 2025 seat at the junior RB team in Tsunoda, Ricciardo and reserve driver Lawson.

Tsunoda, according to Marko, isn’t going anywhere.

“Yuki Tsunoda is set, that’s clear,” he told Kleine Zeitung.

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The Japanese driver has been RB’s stand-out performer this season, up on Ricciardo in every stat that matters and most importantly in the Drivers’ Championship.

He’s scored 19 points to the Aussie’s five with Ricciardo’s early-season woes leading to speculation he may not see out the season.

But while that’s been denied by everyone involved, F1 2024 could yet to be Ricciardo’s last year on the grid as Red Bull now have a big choice to make – promote reserve driver Lawson to a race seat or lose him.

The Kiwi impressed last year when he filled in for Ricciardo when the Australian broke his hand, Lawson’s ninth-placed finish at the Singapore Grand Prix the team’s best result at that point of the season.

That he scored those points 24 hours after being told he would not be promoted to a race seat for the 2024 season made it even more impressive.

Marko and team boss Christian Horner now have to decide if keeping Ricciardo is worth losing Lawson, and visa versa as the team has a contract with the Kiwi that states either he races next year, or he is “free” to leave.

“He is there at every race and we are in close contact,” Marko said of Lawson. “There is a clause with Lawson. If we don’t offer him an active seat, he is free for other teams.”

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