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Red Bull director doubles down on Lawson for 2025 F1 seat

Alex Powell,
Publish Date
Wed, 3 Jul 2024, 1:46pm

Red Bull director doubles down on Lawson for 2025 F1 seat

Alex Powell,
Publish Date
Wed, 3 Jul 2024, 1:46pm

Liam Lawson’s place on the 2025 Formula One grid appears more secure, as Red Bull director Helmut Marko doubled down on comments regarding the young Kiwi’s future. 

Lawson is currently seen to be in a two-way shootout for a spot at Visa Cash App RB F1 Team, known as the Racing Bulls, the second team of Red Bull. 

The 22-year-old is vying with Australian Daniel Ricciardo for a place on the 2025 grid, with the last of the four Red Bull-affiliated seats yet to be finalised for next season. 

Before last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix, Red Bull’s head of driver development, Dr Helmut Marko, told Kleine Zeitung there was pressure from above to see Lawson be awarded the second seat with the Racing Bulls and partner Yuki Tsunoda next year. 

And speaking to German newspaper Bild, Marko emphasised again that Lawson is his preferred option in the Racing Bulls’ 2025 team. 

“We will offer him something,” he said. “A cockpit for next year. 

“It is clear that the Racing Bulls are a junior team. That has been communicated internally and everyone has understood that.” 

However, the decision as to who will fill that seat is far from simple. 

Even as Lawson’s current contract with Red Bull contains a clause that means he must be guaranteed a 2025 seat or be free to leave, Ricciardo is well supported by senior team principal Christian Horner, thanks to the commercial value he brings to the sport. 

While Ricciardo was put under pressure by Marko earlier this year, the 34-year-old has responded on the track and finished ninth in Austria, ahead of teammate Yuki Tsunoda. 

On the surface, the Racing Bulls appear to be in no rush to finalise their 2025 line-up. Speaking at the Austrian Grand Prix, team CEO Peter Bayer concurred with Marko but outlined they would not be pressured into any confirmation. 

Daniel Ricciardo and Liam Lawson are vying for the same F1 seat. Photo / Getty ImagesDaniel Ricciardo and Liam Lawson are vying for the same F1 seat. Photo / Getty Images 

“We do our job to develop young drivers, but the decision on the second seat will be taken quietly and we’re not in a hurry,” he said. 

Lawson’s management told the Herald they were unaware of Red Bull’s intentions for the Kiwi but expected to learn by Formula One’s upcoming mid-season break. 

In late June, reports in Europe linked Lawson with a switch to Sauber in 2025, before the team rebrands to Audi in 2026. Those reports have put pressure on Red Bull to confirm their plans for Lawson, or else risk losing him to a competitor. 

Lawson has outlined he would be prepared to leave the team to secure a fulltime drive, but his first preference would be to stay with Red Bull, who have invested in him since he was a teenager. 

Likewise, Red Bull are understood to be hesitant to losing Lawson, and therefore waste the millions they have invested in his development. 

The team have backed the Kiwi through junior categories Formula Three, Formula Two and the Japanese Super Formula championship. 

Marko and Horner are widely understood to be at odds over the running of Red Bull’s two teams. 

Lawson’s place as a fulltime driver has been questioned since last year when he deputised for Ricciardo after the Australian driver broke his hand at the Dutch Grand Prix. 

Liam Lawson at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Photo / Getty ImagesLiam Lawson at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Photo / Getty Images 

For five races, Lawson impressed behind the wheel for then AlphaTauri, and finished higher than Tsunoda in four Grands Prix. 

Those results included a ninth-placed finish at Singapore, where Lawson also eliminated Verstappen from qualifying, a feat which no Red Bull stablemate has been able to consistently achieve before and after. 

Lawson’s ninth-place was AlphaTauri’s best result of 2023, until Tsunoda managed eighth in Las Vegas in the season’s penultimate race. 

However, AlphaTauri – now the Racing Bulls – re-signed Tsunoda and Ricciardo before Lawson had driven for the team, and have left the Kiwi sidelined ever since as the reserve driver for both Red Bull teams. 

Alex Powell is an Online Sports Editor for the NZ Herald. He has been a sports journalist since 2016, and previously worked for both Newshub and 1News. 

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