Liam Lawson ‘will’ be on F1 grid ‘next year’ – Marko

Tue, 2 July 2024, 09:46

Jul.2 (GMM) Liam Lawson “will” be on the Formula 1 grid next year, Red Bull’s F1 consultant Dr Helmut Marko insists.

Marko, 81, had already suggested in the days before the recent Austrian GP that Daniel Ricciardo will be moved aside at the junior team RB to make way for Lawson.

According to strong speculation, 22-year-old reserve driver Lawson’s contract with Red Bull guarantees him a full race cockpit by 2025 – or else he will be free to sign a contract elsewhere, such as at Audi-Sauber.

Red Bull Racing team boss Christian Horner and RB CEO Peter Bayer, however, were not ready to confirm the news at the Red Bull Ring last weekend.

“Daniel is in the seat and it’s down to him to make the most of that,” Horner said.

And Bayer added: “We do our job to develop young drivers, but the decision on the second seat will be taken quietly and we’re not in a hurry.”

Amid the internal power struggle that is clearly still taking place at Red Bull, it is believed Horner is keen to keep Ricciardo in his seat for 2025 – while Marko is championing the young New Zealander Lawson.

Marko has now told Bild newspaper when asked about Lawson: “We will offer him something. A cockpit for next year.”

Elaborating, the Austrian explained: “It is clear that the Racing Bulls are a junior team. That has been communicated internally and everyone has understood that.”

Meanwhile, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is hoping the Red Bull turmoil persists for so long that Max Verstappen ultimately decides to switch teams.

“At the beginning,” he told Kronen Zeitung newspaper, “I thought (Oliver) Mintzlaff was brought in to run that company with an iron fist.

“But the decisions that are being made there are clearly being made elsewhere. I believe they wanted this Horner story to be handled the way it probably should have been handled – but that did not happen.”

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