As the dust settles on what was a fantastic weekend of racing in Qatar, one driver may just have finished his 2023 season.
Liam Lawson stepped into the AlphaTauri car at the Dutch Grand Prix, after Daniel Ricciardo broke his hand during a nasty incident during FP2 in Zandvoort.
Since then, the New Zealander has looked assured, achieving two 11th-placed finishes, one points-scoring finish and outperforming his more experienced team-mate Yuki Tsunoda at four of the five races he has been involved in.
However, Ricciardo is expected to be back in time for the next race in Austin later in October meaning that, for now, Lawson's Formula 1 stint is over.
Part of AlphaTauri's decision to snub Lawson was a promise that he would have a big part to play in the future and in the short term, a reserve driver role.
In 2024, Lawson will be a reserve driver for both Red Bull and AlphaTauri playing a crucial part in the sister teams' development throughout the season, and being on hand to step in as he has done so brilliantly this season.
Sargeant is still yet to score a point in his rookie season and with the team wanting to build on what has been a giant step forward in 2023, they may opt to replace the young American.
However, the likelihood is that Red Bull would still want to keep Lawson on their books, meaning Williams may feel like they are just providing a driver with more experience only for him to make use of that with a rival team in the future.
Considering Alpine driver Pierre Gasly landed his Toro Rosso seat in 2017 by winning the Super Formula series, Lawson could contemplate returning to the competition in order to bolster his bid for a 2025 seat.
Never miss a chance🤯 Sharp action by Liam LAWSON @LiamLawson30 breaking in between another battle🔥
However, having only just been dropped to the fringes of F1, Lawson would arguably be better off sticking around the paddock as part of the Red Bull team, particularly with Tsunoda and Perez's seats being anything but secure beyond 2024.
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