Sep.20 (GMM) Liam Lawson looks set to be left out of Alpha Tauri’s race driver lineup for 2024.
Since jumping into the injured Daniel Ricciardo’s cockpit at Zandvoort, the 21-year-old New Zealander has impressed – and almost caught up with team regular Yuki Tsunoda’s points haul.
It triggered speculation that Japanese Tsunoda might be relegated to a reserve role at Red Bull.
That would have opened the door for a Ricciardo-Lawson lineup for 2024. But instead, it is believed the Red Bull-owned team is set to announce at his home race at Suzuka that Tsunoda, 23, is being retained for a fourth consecutive season.
“Negotiations are reaching a final stage,” new team CEO Peter Bayer is quoted as saying in the Japanese media on Wednesday.
“We will be able to make an announcement soon.”
When asked if the negotiations are with Red Bull’s driver guru Dr Helmut Marko, Bayer answered: “Negotiations are underway with Honda.”
Indeed, Tsunoda is backed by Red Bull’s ongoing engine partner Honda, but the energy drink owned team is transitioning to full control of its own power unit subsidiary by 2026.
When asked when an announcement will be made, Bayer said: “Probably before the Japanese GP.”
Some observers will be stunned that Alpha Tauri and Red Bull would leave the impressive rookie Lawson on the bench for next year.
Marko acknowledged to Blick newspaper on Wednesday: “We have a luxury problem.
“But anyone who doesn’t drive in our B team next season will be the reserve and simulator driver for all four cars.”