Liam Lawson found himself on the cusp of an opportunity in 2024 but ultimately settled into a role as Red Bull’s reserve driver. His story is a testament to the highs and lows of the sport, where talent, timing, and decision-making play critical roles.
Liam Lawson was set to replace Daniel Ricciardo for five races after the Australian driver suffered a broken metacarpal during a practice crash at Zandvoort. This temporary stint with the team raised Lawson’s hopes of securing a full-time seat for the 2024 season with AlphaTauri. However, those hopes were dashed when Red Bull decided to retain Yuki Tsunoda and Ricciardo for the upcoming year.
Despite coming tantalizingly close to achieving his dream of becoming a full-time F1 driver, Lawson took the news in stride, stating, “I can’t do any of the free practice sessions anymore. I don’t know if I’ll get to drive again, and if there is, I don’t know when it’ll be.”
Given his extensive racing experience across various championships, including Formula 1, returning to Formula 2 or Super Formula seemed less appealing. Instead, Lawson has chosen to dedicate himself to his role as a reserve driver. He plans to invest his time in the simulator, a space that has been instrumental in his rapid adaptation to Formula 1.
Lawson explains, “I think what helped getting into Formula 1 and adjusting to it so quickly has been two years now nearly as a reserve. So I’ve done lots of simulator work over the last couple of years. That will just continue now into next year, and getting to learn and basically absorb, being alongside the best team in F1 right now.”
Liam Lawson’s journey in Formula 1 has not been without its share of disappointments. He missed out on a race seat in 2023 to Nyck de Vries and then to Ricciardo when De Vries was dropped. While he could have let frustration consume him, Lawson instead takes a pragmatic approach.
“I can understand, at the time of this decision, why this makes sense,” Lawson reflects. He acknowledges the factors at play in each decision, from his team’s performance to the experience level of potential replacements, providing him with a measure of solace amidst the frustration.
Scoring his first F1 points in Singapore was a momentous achievement for Lawson. It was a testament to his talent and potential. However, he revealed that the joy of the moment was dampened by the prior knowledge that he wouldn’t be driving in 2024.
“Yes, it was a really good feeling knowing that, potentially I’d made a big step in trying to achieve [a full-time seat],” Lawson says. “But I also knew before Singapore that I wasn’t driving next year, I knew that basically, I wasn’t gonna get the seat. I found out before qualifying, the timing wasn’t great.”
In a sport that demands resilience and an unyielding pursuit of dreams, Liam Lawson exemplifies a young driver who, despite the twists and turns, remains committed to his passion for Formula 1. As Red Bull’s reserve driver for 2024, he continues to work towards the opportunity he knows will come, whenever and however it may present itself.