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Piastri eye-opener for Red Bull? 'Lawson might be right next to Max'

Piastri eye-opener for Red Bull? 'Lawson might be right next to Max'

26-09-2023 06:48

Jan Lammers has a high opinion of Liam Lawson. The former Formula One driver would not be surprised if Red Bull Racing decides to make the New Zealander a direct teammate of Max Verstappen in 2025. Indeed, the chances of Sergio Perez securing a contract extension seem to be dwindling by the week.

The story is familiar: Lawson replaced Daniel Ricciardo since the Dutch Grand Prix and the newcomer immediately made a big impression in the AT04. Yuki Tsunoda has been beaten several times and in Singapore he even grabbed two points thanks to a ninth-place finish. Yet during the Japan Grand Prix weekend, it was announced that Helmut Marko has opted for Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo. Lawson remains Red Bull's test and reserve driver.

Ricciardo needs to perform, Perez struggles

In the NOS Formula 1 podcast, Lammers argues that Lawson's passing need not be a bad thing at all. "I do think it is remarkable: everyone was surprised that AlphaTauri that they announced that they will continue with Ricciardo, but I don't think it is an issue at all. They all have performance clauses in those Red Bull contracts, so I think if Ricciardo doesn't perform, they have every right and opportunity to put Lawson in as well. I think Ricciardo has heavy shoes to fill then, he [Lawson] has shown that."

At Red Bull, Checo is experiencing tough times. "If you see what Perez is performing now - and I don't want to pillory the guy right away - but he's just not performing, he's missing too many opportunities. He could be much better, but somehow it is not coming out. In particular, I think Perez is in a knot with himself. How long will he enjoy this? Is he then going to enjoy looking forward to how he gets another year on his fireproof trousers. I don't think he is looking forward to that with much pleasure," Lammers said.

Piastri as an example

The sporting director pointed to the good performance of Oscar Piastri. The rookie was thrown into the deep end by McLaren, but is performing superbly alongside Lando Norris. That must have been an "eye-opener" for Red Bull, Lammers thinks. "At the same time - I think at Red Bull they see the example of McLaren by just putting in a young talent. I think at Red Bull they might think more about putting Liam Lawson next to Max [in 2025]."

"As Red Bull team principal, it would be a no-brainer for me. I would put him in straight away and then just pay Perez on." That young drivers like Pierre Gasly and Alexander Albon were also put alongside Verstappen at a young age (and quite inexperienced) and ultimately failed to make it, Lammers doesn't say much. "That's a real top driver [Lawson], he won't be intimidated by that [by Max]."