Liam Lawson has downplayed his chances of driving in Formula 1 for Williams next year, insisting he is committed to the Red Bull set-up.
Lawson was handed the opportunity to make his F1 bow at the Dutch Grand Prix after Daniel Ricciardo broke his left hand in a crash during the opening stages of FP3.
Despite impressing massively in his four deputy appearances to date – scoring AlphaTauri’s best result of the year with ninth place in Singapore – Lawson has been overlooked for a full-time seat in 2024.
AlphaTauri announced during the Japanese Grand Prix weekend that Ricciardo would partner Yuki Tsunoda next year, with Lawson confirmed as Red Bull’s reserve driver.
Although the New Zealander has been tentatively linked with the sole remaining seat at Williams, Lawson has dismissed that he is in the running to potentially replace the under-pressure Logan Sargeant.
“I’m a Red Bull driver, so all the Red Bull seats are filled and unfortunately for me that means for now I’ll be a reserve driver,” he said when questioned on the Williams vacancy.
Pressed on whether he was pleased to receive clarity on his future, Lawson replied: “To be honest, I haven’t thought about it too much. I think right now I’m focused on making the most of this opportunity.
“Ultimately my goal is to be in Formula 1 and the best way to achieve that is by extracting the best performances I can in these days, so maybe I’ll think about that after.”
Although he has outraced Tsunoda on every occasion since he stepped in for Ricciardo, Lawson was remaining coy on whether he thought he deserved a seat for next year.
“It’s not for me to decide,” he proclaimed. “From my side, I’m trying to extract everything out of every session, I’m trying to, I guess, show something every time I am in the car, and, ultimately, my goal is to be in Formula 1, but I’m not the one who gets to decide when that happens.”
Liam Lawson (NZL) AlphaTauri AT04. 24.09.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 17, Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka, Japan, Race Day
Lawson also denied that he had been overdriving in his temporary stint as part of his bid to secure a full-time position.
“One of the positives about being a Red Bull driver is, for me having five years in this programme, 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 almost I’m ready for it,” he explained.
Both Red Bull Team Principal and advisor Helmut Marko have lavished praise on Lawson’s displays, the former commenting it’s “only a matter of time” before he earns a permanent place on the F1 grid.
Asked if he draws encouragement from those comments regarding a potential 2025 seat within the Red Bull family, Lawson said: “Potentially, but honestly right now I’m trying to do the best job in these races that I can.
“Once this stint that I have is over then I can start looking at what options there are, but right now it’s focused on these races.”
Lawson discloses he has not yet been given any indication that he will remain in the AT04 for the Qatar Grand Prix next weekend.
“I’ll prepare for it, I think the decision will be made closer to the time of the weekend, to give Daniel the best chance possible but, for now, it’s normal preparations,” he concluded.
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