F1 Rumors: Liam Lawson close to full-time contract?

Liam Lawson at the Singapore Grand Prix 2023

We are in the heart of the silly season and there is an air of change in the AlphaTauri team: the F1 drivers’ market leads to warming spirits: exchanges of seats and steering wheels, of teams and teammates.

AlphaTauri is in the sights: it is the biggest mover in the F1 driver market this year. The team is currently not doing very well this season. The Italian team is dead last in the constructors’ championship. Furthermore, Daniel Ricciardo is currently unable to race and Liam Lawson replaces him in F1 for the time being.

Ricciardo will be present on track this weekend, but he will be limited to carrying out engineering duties. Lawson has added to an intriguing dynamic in Faenza, presenting the Italian team with another option for the 2024 season. With eight rounds remaining, everyone will no doubt be focusing on the instability within the team.

An (un)fortunate accident

Daniel Ricciardo’s first sessions in AT04 were impressive, putting concerns to rest. Unfortunately a crash at Zandvoort forces him to watch from the sidelines for Singapore. At the same time, this injury gives Lawson the chance to showcase his abilities in F1. On track, it is still early to draw any conclusions, however, his performances are already capturing positive attention among the teams.

Air of change

Yuki Tsunoda, to his credit, continues to perform as a strong reference point for AlphaTauri. None of his three teammates this season have surpassed him. While the sample size available for Lawson and Ricciardo is still too small, that doesn’t negate the 23-year-old’s steady progression. Despite this, Tsunoda is not guaranteed a place for next year.

Red Bull are clearly invested in Daniel Ricciardo, seeing their former driver as a clear option to drive alongside Max Verstappen. Plus, on a team looking for top-tier talent, Lawson is in the mix for next year. And this small period of time could convince Red Bull that the Kiwi’s skill and ability is such as to guarantee him a full-time contract. What Red Bull wants is to want to invest drivers in AlphaTauri, regardless of age.

Yuki Tsunoda and Liam Lawson at the 2023 Singapore Grand Prix

Yuki Tsunoda

However, it would be unfair to leave Yuki Tsunoda without a seat, one of the drivers who this season has nevertheless demonstrated his talent, the protagonist of an impressive growth exploit that always puts in 110%. Yet a 2024 driver line-up of Lawson and Ricciardo is on the cards. Helmut Marko is famous for his ruthlessness and has shown little interest in promoting Tsunoda to the main team. Even if this is not an official condemnation for the Japanese driver, evidently nothing can be taken for granted.

Having said that, there are still many doubts and uncertainties, we don’t know who the driver line-up in AlphaTauri will be in 2024. What we can hope is that right and conscious choices will be made, taking into account the work done by the various drivers.