Liam Lawson, the promising Red Bull junior driver, has cast uncertainty on his future in Super Formula, further fanning the flames of speculation that he could potentially secure a seat at AlphaTauri in the 2024 Formula 1 season.
The 21-year-old talent has made a notable impact in Super Formula while racing with Team Mugen, currently positioned second in the championship standings with one race left, retaining a significant chance of championship victory.
However, during Sunday’s race at Montegi, Lawson’s ambitions took a hit as he initiated a substantial crash while executing an aggressive maneuver against his own team-mate, leading to a 13th-place finish.
Speaking to the media, Lawson candidly shared insights into his aspirations and considerations.
“The rest of my career depends on how the season unfolds,” Lawson remarked, highlighting the pivotal role his own performance will play in shaping his trajectory.
He expressed the intent to evaluate the Super Formula championship outcome and hinted at the potential implications it would have on his future choices.
Drawing comparisons between the racing cultures, Lawson offered insights into his experiences in Japan’s Super Formula compared to his familiarity with Formula 2 and Formula 3.
“There is a much higher level of respect between the pilots in Japan,” he noted.
Lawson’s fate within the Red Bull program and Formula 1 rests significantly on the impressions he leaves on Dr. Helmut Marko, the key figure behind Red Bull’s young driver development initiative.
Furthermore, his potential ascension to Formula 1 hinges on AlphaTauri’s decision regarding Daniel Ricciardo’s seat for the 2024 season and Sergio Perez’s seat at Red Bull.
In the face of these uncertainties, the prospect of Lawson stepping into Formula 1 in the near future appears plausible.
“To be honest, if I am still fighting at the front, as I am now, I will feel like I have achieved everything, and my first objective is obviously a seat in Formula 1,” Lawson affirmed.
Ricciardo returned to AlphaTauri, with Red Bull overlooking Lawson as a replacement for Nyck de Vries after the Dutch driver disappointed in his first full season in Formula 1.
The decision to chose Ricciardo could have been to allow Lawson to see out his existing season or reflective on AlphaTauri’s interest in having a proven driver at the team.
Either way, Lawson will need a shake-up of Red Bull’s line-up or Ricciardo to step aside for a seat to open up in the Red Bull family for him.
Outside of Red Bull, there might be even fewer opportunities for Lawson to join Formula 1, as Williams appears the only team that might make a change later year.
However, if Williams were to ditch Logan Sargeant, it has been suggested that Mick Schumacher, currently a reserve driver at Mercedes, would be the preferred candidate.