Liam Lawson will continue to drive for Alpha Tauri until Daniel Ricciardo is fit to return from a hand injury suffered in practice last weekend, the Formula One team announced Monday.
Ricciardo was himself a replacement driver, joining the program last month after the team chose to drop rookie Nyck de Vries just halfway through his first season in the car. Ricciardo was injured in a crash on Friday when he drove wide into a barrier after coming upon a car crashed sideways in a corner. The once and potentially future Red Bull driver is on his second tour with the company's junior team, re-joining the program at 34 years old as the team evaluates all of the drivers it has under contract.
Lawson was one of two possible reserves, chosen over initial full season driver Nyck de Vries after Ricciardo's injury. Notably, de Vries started to receive interest from AlphaTauri last year after filling in as an injury replacement for Alex Albon at Monza around the same time Colton Herta was told he would not get a waiver to compete in F1. Lawson is expected to factor into the company's conversations as it plans its 2023 driver lineups across both the Red Bull and AlphaTauri teams, so a strong performance over the next handful of races could make or break his future.
He has spent the year so far in Japan's Super Formula, where he sits second in the championship with two races remaining despite his involvement in a massive crash last week. He spent two years each in Formula 3 and Formula 2 before that, a junior career highlighted by a third-place finish in a relatively weak 2022 F2 field. His resume now includes one F1 finish, 13th in Sunday's difficult wet-into-dry-into-wet Dutch Grand Prix.
Red Bull's other F2 driver that season, Juri Vips, finished a distant 11th and fell out of the company's good graces after saying a racial slur on a gaming live stream. Ayumu Iwasa, a second-year Formula 2 driver who still has a shot at that category's championship over its final two races, is the only other young driver in the program that looks from the outside like they might have a resume to justify an F1 seat in 2024
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