Lawson not distracted by missing 2024 AlphaTauri F1 race seat

Liam Lawson insists that learning he didn’t have a full-time AlphaTauri Formula 1 drive for 2024 has not distracted him from his current stint with the Italian team.

Liam Lawson, AlphaTauri, Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri, Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing

The Faenza outfit announced over the Suzuka weekend that Yuki Tsunoda will be joined by Daniel Ricciardo next year, with Lawson serving as reserve once again for the two Red Bull teams.

Japan was the New Zealander’s fourth outing since Ricciardo suffered a hand injury at Zandvoort.

While the target is for the latter to return for the next race in Qatar, Lawson could get a fifth race in the AT04 if it is decided that Ricciardo needs more recovery time.

"I think to be honest, I haven't thought about it too much,” said Lawson when asked by Autosport about the impact of the line-up confirmation. “I think right now I'm focused on making the most of this opportunity.

“Obviously ultimately my goal is to be in F1, and the best way to achieve that is by extracting the best possible performance as I can in these races. So maybe I'll think about it after!

"I think obviously the support has been amazing, it's great to see the support from everybody, from New Zealand, from everywhere around the world, to be honest.”

He downplayed the suggestion that he felt any pressure to prove the Red Bull management wrong.

"I don't think so,” he said. “I think one of the positives about being a Red Bull driver for me, having five years in this programme, is that it’s a high-pressure programme.

“We're put under pressure from day one, and I'm now used to that, it's been five years of that. So situations like this, I'm ready for them.

Liam Lawson, AlphaTauri AT04

Liam Lawson, AlphaTauri AT04

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

“Honestly, right now I'm trying to just do the best job in these races that I can, I think once the stint that I have is over, then I can start looking at potentially how I've done, and what options there are, but right now I'm focused on these races."

Lawson rejected the suggestion that he could yet land a race drive elsewhere, with Williams yet to confirm who will partner Alex Albon: "I'm a Red Bull driver, all the Red Bull seats are filled, and unfortunately that means for now I'll be a reserve driver."

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Red Bull team boss Christian Horner stressed that Lawson is very much on the radar.

“It’s only a matter of time before he gets his opportunity and full-time chance,” he told Sky F1. “To have the three of them there is very strong for the group.

“I think he certainly turned heads and gave us plenty to think about, in particular following his Singapore drive.

“He’s doing everything possible to justify a case for a full-time drive but unfortunately, three into two just doesn’t go.”

Horner also indicated that Williams is not an option for Lawson.

“It would be unlikely that they would take a driver for one year,” he said. “He’s going to focus on that test and reserve role and do as much running as he can in the background in the simulator, and we’ve seen what he’s capable of.

“He’s done the right thing. He’s grabbed that opportunity, and I said to him on Friday, ‘You’ve done everything or more that you could have’.”

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