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F1 pundit suggests one driver saved from sacking by sponsors

F1 pundit suggests one driver saved from sacking by sponsors

F1 pundit suggests one driver saved from sacking by sponsors

F1 pundit suggests one driver saved from sacking by sponsors

Sky F1 pundit Bernie Collins believes AlphaTauri erred in not pairing Daniel Ricciardo with Red Bull reserve driver Liam Lawson for the 2024 season - and suggests sponsors may have saved Yuki Tsunoda from making way for the New Zealander.

Despite Lawson's impressive stand-in performance during Ricciardo's injury layoff, the team opted to retain Tsunoda for 2024.

However, Collins sees this decision as a missed opportunity to inject fresh talent and energy into AlphaTauri, and says it's a 'pity' that seats are often decided based on factors away from the race track.

Liam Lawson impressed during his stint deputising for Daniel Ricciardo
Bernie Collins has suggested Yuki Tsunoda may have had his seat saved by sponsors

Lawson 'should be in a car'

“It’s a pity in F1 that some things are led by sponsors, some things are led by dealings, whatever, but on pure performance, he should be in a car, he should be in a seat,” Collins said.

“And arguably, that should have been the AlphaTauri seat with Daniel Ricciardo because you would have a very strong line-up of a young guy that’s clearly very good, and Ricciardo who has very strong pace and a lot of experience.

“That would work really well, you’d imagine, for the AlphaTauri team, that mix. That’s not happened, which is a pity.

“What’s going to be very interesting going forward now is what Liam’s able to do over the next season. [He] needs to be in a strong position to step into that car."

Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda have been confirmed as the AlphaTauri pairing for 2024

Lawson could get a seat soon

Collins suggests that while Lawson might have declined to step outside the Red Bull umbrella, team managers could be enticed to pursue him in the near future.

We don’t know what happened with the Williams seat if it was offered to him, and then he said he wanted to stay in the Red Bull family," Collins added. "We don’t know the answers to those questions.

“But you would like to think that other team managers are sitting, looking at his performance, going ‘to get in a car that quickly is no mean feat’.

“So yeah, I totally think he deserves that spot on the grid, and it’s a bit of a pity that he’s missed it. But he has given himself one fantastic interview. He cannot do any better than he did.”

READ MORE: Former F1 driver confirmed by Red Bull partners for racing role return

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