AlphaTauri CEO Peter Bayer justified the team’s decision not to hand Liam Lawson a race seat in 2024 by its choice to no longer have two young drivers in its line-up.
Lawson was called up at the last hour by Red Bull to replace Daniel Ricciardo following the latter’s crash in FP2 at Zandvoort in which the Aussie fractured his left hand.
In the wake of his F1 debut, Lawson’s performances went crescendo with each passing session, culminating with his entry into the top ten in qualifying in Singapore and on race day at Marina Bay where the 21-year-old claimed his first championship points.
But despite his remarkable apprenticeship, Lawson was overlooked for a full-time seat with AlphaTauri alongside Yuki Tsunoda.
Instead, the Kiwi will spend another season in the wings with Red Bull, but ready to pounce should his services be required in 2024, while Red Bull’s top brass has almost guaranteed the young gun a full-time spot on the grid in 2025.
- Read also: Lawson laments ‘pretty tough’ end to AlphaTauri stint
After questioning earlier this year AlphaTauri’s marketing value and mulling an outright sale of the team, parent company Red Bull ultimately opted to keep the Faenza squad on its books, while tweaking its operations – by increasing its synergies with RBR – but also its philosophy regarding the mentorship of young talent, as Bayer explained.
“We had lots of discussions about the future of the team and our shareholders said ‘We want you to continue and educate young drivers but we also want you to be successful’,” Bayer explained, quoted by Speedcafe.
“Ultimately, you can’t have both. You can’t have two ‘young’ drivers in the team. We looked at what we needed to deliver that, and we finally came to the conclusion that, first of all, we only have two seats.
“Daniel offers a lot of expertise, especially when it comes down to the setup of the car, which is something that we have struggled with.
“Yuki has grown over the years, is achieving, and is now coming to the pinnacle of his performance curve, so we thought those two make the right team.
“On top of that, it’s also good to have somebody like Liam just behind them, to keep the fire warm under their seats and make sure we progress as a team.”
After lingering in the lower tier of the field for several season, AlphaTauri’s absolute priority is to improve its results and to become a top midfield contender.
As part of that directive, the team felt that its interests would be better served by blending youth with experience. But the outfit remains to a certain degree a breeding ground for Red Bull’s young chartgers.
“It is but not absolutely so,” said Bayer.
“The reality today, if you’re looking at the grid, it’s so competitive, so tight, with every tenth of a second being fought for.
“We came to the conclusion that in order to be contenders for the top midfield, we need one experienced driver.
“But we’ll continue to grow young talent that ultimately shall end up in Red Bull Racing.”
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