Sergio Perez is grappling with a challenging season at Red Bull Racing. While the Red Bull car proves to be the fastest on the grid, Perez has been unable to consistently deliver the desired results. Currently sitting in second place in the championship, he faces the imminent threat of being overtaken by the relentless Lewis Hamilton if his performance doesn’t improve soon.
On the other end of the spectrum, Liam Lawson, a rookie in Formula 1, has left a lasting impression during his initial F1 appearances. Given the opportunity to step in for the injured Daniel Ricciardo at Red Bull’s sister team, AlphaTauri, Lawson’s performance turned heads in the racing world. Racing in five consecutive events, he showcased his talent, leaving many to believe that he has the potential to compete at the highest level of motorsport.
Despite this strong debut, Lawson has not secured a race seat at AlphaTauri for the 2024 season. Instead, the team has chosen to retain Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda as their primary drivers, while Lawson is slated to remain the reserve driver for both Red Bull Racing and AlphaTauri. However, Frits van Amersfoort, one of Lawson’s former bosses, has a different opinion.
Van Amersfoort, who played a pivotal role in Lawson’s early career by overseeing his first foray into European racing at the F4 level, believes that the young New Zealander has what it takes to be Max Verstappen’s partner at Red Bull Racing. When asked about his expectations for Lawson’s smooth transition to F1, Van Amersfoort confidently stated, “I did expect that, I thought he could do it because he is mentally well suited to it.” Moreover, when questioned about whether Lawson should replace Perez, he replied with a resounding, “Right away.”
Highlighting Lawson’s readiness for the top-tier competition, Van Amersfoort added, “He starts in the car in the same way as Max. I would dare to do that, but my name is not Helmut, nor do I have the resources Helmut has at his disposal. But I would rather do that than someone who brings only history. Liam can only do well, in my opinion.”
The suggestion to replace Perez with Lawson comes amid uncertainty surrounding Perez’s future at Red Bull. Red Bull adviser Helmut Marko has hinted that Perez might need a change of scenery to rediscover his best form. Marko said, “I brought Perez into the team, but it’s simply the fate with Verstappen that he’s suffering now. That was also the case with [Pierre] Gasly.”
Marko’s comments suggest that a change of climate and team may be the solution for Perez. However, team principal Christian Horner maintains that Red Bull intends to honor Perez’s current contract, which is set to expire at the end of the 2024 season.