Lawson could steal injured Ricciardo’s F1 thunder

"He is already doing very well under difficult circumstances"


30 August 2023 - 16:14
Lawson could steal injured Ricciardo

Liam Lawson has gone from near-uncertainty to a prime position in Formula 1 almost instantly.

As recently as late July, when Red Bull was dumping struggling Alpha Tauri rookie Nyck de Vries, Dr Helmut Marko said it would have been "certainly wrong" to pull 21-year-old New Zealander Lawson out of the Super Formula series in Japan.

Indeed, Red Bull-funded Lawson is currently second overall in that category, with only one race to go at Suzuka - which clashes with F1’s Mexican GP.

However, Alpha Tauri has now announced that Lawson - who made his F1 debut at Zandvoort - will definitely be in Daniel Ricciardo’s car for as long as it takes until the Australian recovers from his broken hand.

"He is an option now for Alpha Tauri," former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher told Sky Deutschland.

"Dr Marko rates him highly, while others see it a little differently. His weekend at Zandvoort was ok - he made the most of it."

But another former F1 driver, current Dutch GP boss Jan Lammers, thinks Lawson’s sudden presence on the grid will be making Ricciardo very nervous.

"It’s quite a worrying development for Ricciardo," he told NOS.

"He (Ricciardo) was already under scrutiny for the rest of the year. He had to put the pressure on (Sergio) Perez ahead of 2024, but now this could have a bigger impact than he may realise.

"Lawson is already doing very well under difficult circumstances," Lammers added.

"If he scores a point at Monza now, that could well be a big blow for Ricciardo, because then Red Bull have the perfect driver to move on to next year."

And Lammers said an Alpha Tauri cockpit might not be the only option for Lawson next year, as he sees him also as an outside chance to oust Perez as Max Verstappen’s next teammate.

"He has a very good track record and I think Red Bull are quite daring. I’m not sure it’s a risk at all," he insisted.

And if Lawson does shine brightly in Ricciardo’s place from Monza onwards, other teams may show interest in him - like Williams.

"When we saw (Logan) Sargeant so devastated at Zandvoort, I got the impression that there had already been a meeting where his future had been decided - to his disadvantage," Schumacher said.

"That’s just my feeling, but Williams will be interesting for many drivers. I even think that if Nico Hulkenberg had had the chance to go there, he would have signed."

Another obvious candidate to replace Sargeant at Williams is Ralf’s own nephew Mick Schumacher.

"I wouldn’t read too much into the rumours," Ralf Schumacher insisted.

"There are many drivers who want to get into Formula 1."

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