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Red Bull consider “exciting” Liam Lawson mid-season comeback

A return to the F1 grid halfway through the season is not ruled out for Liam Lawson.

Liam Lawson took Formula 1 by storm with his sensational debut last season. Despite practically zero preparation, he managed to secure points and frequently fought for the top 10 positions. He was within touching distance of Yuki Tsunoda, who continues to demonstrate he is a very strong benchmark. In any case, Lawson was sidelined for 2024 – as Red Bull opted to keep Ricciardo in the team for another season. However, the Austrian team cannot afford to keep Liam Lawson as a reserve driver for another year.

In the later stages of the 2023 season, LWOS reported on a supposed clause in Lawson’s contract. It was understood that Red Bull had guaranteed the Kiwi driver a seat for 2025. Or, at the very least, this clause allows the 22-year-old to look elsewhere if he is not given a drive next season.

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Liam Lawson waits for Red Bull to act

Whilst never officially confirmed, Helmut Marko heavily implied an agreement of this nature exists when speaking to Kleine Zeitung:

“Of course, with Liam Lawson as reserve driver, we have a strong driver in the team who is contractually entitled to drive for another team if he does not get a seat with us in 2025.

“In this regard, it would, of course, be exciting for us if we could see him in Formula 1 this year – to get an even clearer picture.

“But this is a complex topic, and we have to see what happens next.”

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Evaluating Perez, Tsunoda and Ricciardo

The complexities of the inter-team dynamic at Red Bull are worth evaluating. All drivers outside of Verstappen (Perez, Tsunoda and Ricciardo) are without a contract for next season. To make way for Lawson’s debut, one of these names must lose out.

As it stands, there is no real argument for replacing Yuki Tsunoda. The Japanese driver is performing extremely well at RB. After dispatching the highly anticipated Nyck de Vries last year, he is again rising to the challenge of a new teammate—in this case, Daniel Ricciardo.

Speaking of the Australian, his future is unclear. Evidently, his current performances are not blowing Red Bull away. This is partly why drivers outside the team’s setup (like Carlos Sainz) are being considered for 2025. Still, there is no guarantee Ricciardo will be replaced.

Meanwhile, Sergio Perez is currently doing enough to keep the Red Bull seat. On paper, extending his contract is the safest option available to the reigning Champions. What must be mentioned, however, is that Perez needs to sustain these performances.

In short, there are no certainties for Lawson. Helmut Marko’s comments might be encouraging, but they certainly do not offer any guarantees. As a result, the Kiwi remains an unknown quantity in the market.

His talent means that someone will almost certainly offer him a contract in 2025. The question is if Red Bull let the youngster slip through their fingers.


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