Liam Lawson set for unbelievable snub

Liam Lawson replaced Daniel Ricciardo on a short-term basis, following the Australian's injury at the 2023 Dutch GP.

Yuki Tsunoda is reportedly going to be announced as an AlphaTauri driver for the 2024 season at this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix, with Liam Lawson looking set for a spot on the Red Bull bench.

It’s been reported by Auto Motor und Sport that Red Bull will use Tsunoda’s and Honda’s home race to make the announcement that the Japanese driver has agreed to another contract extension, which will see him compete in a fourth season for their sister team.

The news does come as a bit of a shock given the instant impact Lawson has made, since he was called-up to replace the injured Daniel Ricciardo.

Lawson has shone in every appearance he’s made, whilst he even achieved his first Formula 1 points finish last weekend at the Singapore Grand Prix.

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The Kiwi not only progressed into Q3, he went onto finish ninth at the Marina Bay Circuit, securing the team an important two points.

Tsunoda, on the other hand, retired on the opening lap, following significant damage to his car.

In the 23-year-old’s defence, he has actually driven very well this season, in what’s been by far his best campaign to-date.

His first half of 2023 was very impressive, with him having made Nyck de Vries look unbelievably average.

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The second half of the season also started in good fashion, after Tsunoda scored a point at the Belgian Grand Prix.

He’s clearly done enough to convince Red Bull to give him another season, with the door being closed to the likes of Mercedes reserve Mick Schumacher.

“The door at AlphaTauri is also closed [for Mick Schumacher],” revealed Auto Motor und Sport.

“To be more precise, it was never really open. The contract extension with Yuki Tsunoda for 2024 should already be announced in Suzuka.”

Despite having missed the last three races through injury, Ricciardo is expected to be offered the other AlphaTauri seat for 2024, having made somewhat of positive contribution to the team.

It means that Lawson will not receive one of the four Red Bull-owned seats, with him having just one option remaining on the grid for next season.

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Williams are yet to decide on the future of Logan Sargeant, although some have suggested that the Grove-based team will retain him for a second season.

Lawson’s only hope is that Red Bull can strike a deal to loan the Kiwi to Williams for 2024, before perhaps moving back to Red Bull in 2025.

Otherwise, it’ll be another season as a reserve driver for Lawson.