Liam Lawson isn’t hiding away from his intentions for 2024, setting a contract extension with AlphaTauri as a clear goal. The 21-year-old is firmly in contention to sign a full-time contract, having stumbled upon an unexpected F1 drive after Daniel Ricciardo sustained a broken metacarpal.
It should be emphasised that Yuki Tsunoda is a very solid benchmark for the rookie. The Japanese driver still enjoys an edge in one-lap pace over his new teammate.
Mixed conditions in Zandvoort and a mechanical failure in Monza make it difficult to assess the difference in race pace between the two AlphaTauri men.
In any case, at least a few more weekends will be required to gauge Lawson’s current level properly. Red Bull will endeavour to extrapolate this and establish his long-term potential.
Christian Horner and Helmut Marko have been highly complimentary of the 21-year-old.
A contract for next season is certainly on the table, and Lawson does not shy away from this reality:
“Right now, it’s race by race, and basically, we see in the future,” he told the media in Singapore.
“I think I’ll prepare for the next races like normal, but it’s race by race.
“Yeah, I think now that I’d say now that I’ve had a taste, it’s definitely something I’ve fallen in love with. And I don’t think I can settle for anything less.
“I think it’s just making the most of the situation now. I guess we’ll see what happens, but it’s obviously very rare to get an opportunity to drive in Formula 1.
“I have it now, so it’s just making the most of it.”
AlphaTauri’s massive update package for Singapore should give the AT04 more performance – if not immediately then in the long term.
Moreover, the shift at Feanza to the Red Bull concept should give them more pace in 2024.
With the prospect of a more competitive car next season, Lawson, Tsunoda and Ricciardo will have extra motivation to secure a new contract.
Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang