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  Debate

Debate

Is Ricciardo's return to Red Bull the boost they need, or just a desperate move?

Red Bull and its sister team VCARB exchange racers amongst them all the time! The Austrian outfit is infamous for demoting its recruits to Visa CashApp Racing Bulls (previously AlphaTauri) whenever they fail to meet the expectations of the stakeholders. This happened to Daniil Kvyat in 2016, and then to Pierre Gasly in 2019. On the other hand, when Alex Albon could not score at par with his teammate Max Verstappen, Red Bull ousted him entirely. Now, Sergio Perez risks demotion or worse, dismissal since his performance at the recent Grands Prix has not been up to the mark. If the Mexican exits, RBR reserve driver Liam Lawson might take up his role.

For the last few months, the F1 pundits and fans have said Liam Lawson is a big threat to Daniel Ricciardo. Since the Australian has not been impressive in his role as a VCARB racer this season, Lawson might take away the job from him in 2025. But if Red Bull decides the New Zealander can serve them as a replacement for Sergio Perez, then Ricciardo’s seat will remain his for the time being. Thus, the possibility of Liam Lawson taking over Checo’s spot is like a lifeline for Ricciardo as the Perth native stands a chance of losing his job in F1 if Lawson comes after his seat instead.

Speaking of Perez’s declining performance, the Mexican had to score some big Championship points at the recently-held British GP to keep his Red Bull seat. But still, he failed at the job. During Saturday’s Qualifying, the 34-year-old got eliminated in Q1 after securing himself the 19th spot on the starting grid. He could not improve during the Main Race as well, thus giving his team’s authorities all the more reason to drop him. As his replacement, Lawson’s name came up during a conversation between Tom Clarkson and Alex Wurz.

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Poll of the day

Who should Red Bull prioritize for the next race?

Daniel Ricciardo

Liam Lawson

Sergio Perez

Another driver

Tom Clarkson spoke on ‘F1 Nation’ about Liam Lawson’s potential target as Max Verstappen’s teammate, saying, “The average qualifying gap between Verstappen and Perez over the three and a half years they’ve been together is about 0.5s. Let’s imagine Lawson is put in the car during the first race after the summer break – Zandvoort. What if he gets within half a second, he’s done a great job. If he gets within three-tenths of a second, he’s done a sensational job.” While Clarkson seems to already consider Lawson as a Red Bull recruit, there is no confirmation regarding this. But RBR Chief Advisor Helmut Marko had a positive response for Liam and his search for an F1 seat.

What did Helmut Marko say about Liam Lawson’s F1 chances?

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In 2019, Liam Lawson became a part of the Red Bull junior team, and three years later, he landed his first reserve role for AlphaTauri. However, after waiting on the sidelines for a long time, the 22-year-old substituted Ricciardo at the Dutch GP and again at the Singapore GP. His impressive performance at the latter made several pundits and fans call upon Red Bull to offer the New Zealander a seat. In a recent interview, Helmut Marko faced this question, and he gave his views on the same.

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Marko talked about the current situation at VCARB, mentioning how Red Bull’s sister team needs to have a young racer since the stakeholders want that. The octagenarian said, “We will have to put a young driver in there soon. That would be Liam Lawson. We will offer him something. A cockpit for next year.” This affirmation from one of the most powerful people amongst the Red Bull authority speaks for Lawson’s chances of landing an F1 seat soon.

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But whether the former F2 podium-holder will get to debut as an RBR recruit at the upcoming Dutch GP in Checo’s place is still up for speculation. As of now, Sergio Perez has an intact contract with Red Bull that allows him to race for the Austrian outfit till 2026. But a performance clause in it would permit Marko and his companions to oust the Mexican if he does not perform well. Then, it will either be Liam Lawson or Daniel Ricciardo who will take up Checo’s seat.

Who do you believe will have the last laugh in this F1 racers’ battle? Let us know in the comments below.