Christian Horner admits driver is giving him ‘headache’

Red Bull are continuing to mull their options with regards to their driver line-up for 2024 and beyond.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has admitted that Liam Lawson is giving him a “nice headache”, with their sister side having three drivers but only two seats available.

Since replacing the injured Daniel Ricciardo from Free Practice 3 at the Dutch Grand Prix, Lawson has done a sensational job for AlphaTauri, something which has put him massively into the spotlight.

He’s shown zero signs of being a rookie, to the extent that he not only made it to Q3 at the Singapore Grand Prix last weekend, but he also scored two points after finishing P9.

It’s unknown how long he’ll remain in Ricciardo’s AT04, but the longer he gets in the cockpit, the bigger the issue he’s creating.

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Lawson has already proven that he deserves a seat on the 2024 grid; however, it appears that he’s set for another season on the bench as Red Bull’s reserve.

Yuki Tsunoda and Ricciardo are reportedly set to be offered deals for 2024, leaving Lawson to wait until 2025.

One option which has been suggested is for Red Bull to loan Lawson to Williams, who have the only vacant seat for next season.

Logan Sargeant is yet to be retained by the Grove-based team; however, the general belief is that the American will be given a new contract.

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Williams team principal James Vowles discussed Lawson during Free Practice 1 at the Japanese Grand Prix, with him not giving away the impression of wanting to sign the 21-year-old.

“So he’s been impressive in the few races he’s had here,” Vowles told Sky Sports F1 during FP1.

“Obviously if you cast your mind back a bit, he and Logan were teammates back in F2. Both finishing pretty much together in the championship, so we have a direct comparison of the two of them in that environment.

“I think what we don’t have at the moment, with different cars, different situations at the moment, is knowing how they compare between a Williams and an AlphaTauri at this stage.

“Nevertheless, to keep his head in Singapore, he did a strong job.

“Red Bull have a number of drivers but just two seats. So it will be interesting to see where they go with that decision-making now.”

Horner is open to loaning Lawson to another team for next season, similar to how they loaned Carlos Sainz to Renault several years ago.

The Red Bull boss is adamant though, that the Kiwi will remain part of the “Red Bull family” and will be busy whether he’s on the grid or not.

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“He’s in the Red Bull family,” Horner insisted.

“I think there’s only one seat available. We’ve done that in the past when for example Carlos Sainz went on loan to the previous Renault team.

“But I think, if he’s not sitting in a grand prix seat next year, then he’s going to have plenty on his plate with other stuff to do.”