Liam Lawson of New Zealand and Visa Cash App RB walks in the Paddock prior to practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 07, 2024 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Formula 1 Rumor: Lawson could replace washed up Ricciardo soon (Update)

(GMM) Dr Helmut Marko has warned F1 hopeful Liam Lawson not to hold out too much hope of an immediate leap into Formula 1.

Recently, rumors have swirled that the Red Bull camp is so disillusioned with Daniel Ricciardo’s struggle to get back up to speed in F1 that he may be replaced at the junior squad RB immediately.

“The rumors that Ricciardo will be replaced by Liam Lawson at Imola are nonsense,” Marko, Red Bull’s influential Austrian F1 consultant, told Speed Week.

He thinks the rumors in Miami were all revved up by Lawson’s manager.

“Liam’s manager from New Zealand was there, apparently he has certain dreams and they are made known through some media – including those from New Zealand,” Marko, 81, added.

“Nothing at all is planned in Imola. But of course we will look at this in the future.”

34-year-old Ricciardo, having successfully lobbied for a fresh RB monocoque as of the Chinese GP, appeared to return to top form in Miami by qualifying and finishing fourth in the sprint events.

Marko says it was a “remarkable performance” and “a sensation”.

“Ricciardo never got up to speed in the race, though,” he explained. “Yuki (Tsunoda) set consistently fast times, while Ricciardo lacked the speed and confidence that was evident in the sprint.”

As for Japanese Tsunoda, his place in the Red Bull camp appears safe.

“If Yuki continues to drive like he did in the rest of the races, then it will certainly be a good letter of recommendation that he is giving,” Marko said.

At the top team Red Bull Racing, Sergio Perez is believed to have secured a new deal to stay next year – even though he almost blew it by coming close to taking out his teammate Max Verstappen at the start in Miami.

“I thought to myself ‘For God’s sake!'” Marko revealed.

“It reminded me of Mexico, where Checo made a similar maneuver in the first corner. Thank God that turned out well as of course it would have been Waterloo if he had taken Max out.

“Overall, his race was good. The deficit was tolerable,” Marko said.


April 10, 2024 

(GMM) Apparently washed up driver Daniel Ricciardo could be on his last legs in Formula 1, former driver Giedo van der Garde is warning.

He says that while Ricciardo’s much younger and less experienced RB teammate Yuki Tsunoda leaps into contention for a promotion to Red Bull Racing next year, the 34-year-old Australian could soon be ousted.

Van der Garde was speaking to the DRS De Race Show podcast just a few days after Ricciardo’s situation only worsened at Suzuka with a lap-1 crash into the barriers with Williams’ Alex Albon.

Whilst arguably just a normal racing incident, the Dutchman said: “When you are under pressure and driving very tensely, you let people pass you and you make mistakes. And then you get hit and you go into the wall.”

Red Bull’s influential consultant Dr Helmut Marko told Speed Week this week that the reason Ricciardo got off to a slow start at Suzuka “was the hard tires”.

“But Ricciardo was overly cautious in the first corner anyway and was overtaken left and right. Then came the racing accident, which can easily happen,” said the Austrian.

In contrast, Marko said of Tsunoda: “He got off to a sensational start and his overtaking moves were the show of the day. The fans were absolutely thrilled.

“His weekend was on par with a Max or an Alonso. Error free, a super performance under the pressure of his home race.”

Van der Garde predicts: “If this continues, it will take a few more races like that and then Liam Lawson will be in that (Ricciardo) car. Things will move quickly.

Liam Lawson of New Zealand and Visa Cash App RB, Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Visa Cash App RB prior to the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 09, 2024 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
Liam Lawson of New Zealand and Visa Cash App RB, Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Visa Cash App RB prior to the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 09, 2024 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

“He’s a nice guy and a really good driver, but we see now that he’s a little short against Yuki. He was also a little short against Max (Verstappen), and a little short against Lando Norris.

“You see he starts to doubt himself and wonder whether he’s still got it. The confidence drops and everyone starts talking about him. If you can’t break that cycle, you’re done.”

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