Helmut Marko announces Daniel Ricciardo’s replacement

Daniel Ricciardo has returned to Scuderia AlphaTauri following Nyck de Vries' dismissal.

Despite missing out on the coveted AlphaTauri seat, Liam Lawson, the standout talent in Red Bull’s junior driver program, continues to be a promising prospect for a future in Formula 1. 

The 21-year-old from New Zealand has been named as a reserve driver for both Red Bull teams and will participate in the young driver test, as revealed by Dr. Helmut Marko, the influential decision-maker at Red Bull.

The AlphaTauri seat became available following Nyck de Vries’ departure, leading to discussions with Liam Lawson about a potential promotion. 

However, Red Bull ultimately chose to bring back the experienced Daniel Ricciardo to the Formula 1 grid, as Dr. Marko shared with Kleine Zeitung newspaper. 

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“We engaged in discussions with Liam,” Marko disclosed, “He (Lawson) will act as a reserve driver for both teams throughout the season and will take part in the young driver test.”

Marko elaborated on their decision, emphasising that disrupting Lawson’s progress and removing him from the championship would have been unwise. 

Currently, the talented Kiwi driver enjoys a strong position in the highly competitive Japanese series, Super Formula.

Alex Albon, a former protege of Red Bull and current competitor with Williams, expressed his confidence in Lawson’s eventual opportunity in Formula 1. 

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Albon firmly believes that Lawson will secure a place in the prestigious racing category. 

However, he also acknowledged the challenges that come with joining as a rookie in the middle of the season, making it a wise decision to grant Lawson more time to establish himself.

“I firmly believe that he will secure a place in Formula 1,” Albon remarked, “However, becoming a rookie in the middle of the season would have presented challenges in establishing himself.” 

Albon further explained that a more favourable start for Lawson would come from undergoing comprehensive winter preparation and participating in the development process. 

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He voiced his support for Red Bull’s decision to select Daniel Ricciardo for the AlphaTauri seat, recognising the Australian’s wealth of experience and the advantages it brings to the team.

By naming Lawson as a reserve driver, Red Bull demonstrates its faith in his abilities and commitment to nurturing young talent. 

The reserve role will provide Lawson with valuable insights into the inner workings of a Formula 1 team and an opportunity to showcase his skills to the racing world.