Lawson praises “high-pressure” Red Bull Young Driver Program for his strong F1 performances

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Photo Credit: Red Bull Content Pool

A lot is spoken about the Red Bull Young Driver Programme. It was the first proper young driver programme of its kind, to harvest the skills of a young driver through the junior formulas and into Formula 1 with the ‘junior’ team AlphaTauri (formally Toro Rosso) with the hope of one day joining the big team Red Bull Racing.

While this progression is very much possible with this programme, the intensity and ruthless nature of the programme leads pundits to often question it. Red Bull are not afraid of making ruthless decisions to drop drivers from the junior programme as well as the senior team itself.

Pierre Gasly, Alexander Albon and Danill Kvyat were all demoted from the senior team in previous years. Most recently Nyck de Vries got the boot from AlphaTauri after only 10 races for the team, in favour of 8-time race winner Daniel Ricciardo.

However with Ricciardo currently stranded on the sidelines due to his injury, which he picked up in practice for the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort, Liam Lawson has stepped up to the plate and impressed everyone.

He was full of praise for the driver programme recently, and credits the intensity and “high-pressure” of the programme for his success.

“One of the positives about being a Red Bull driver is for me, having five years in this program, it’s a high-pressure program and we’re put under pressure from day one,” said Lawson.

“I’m now used to that, it’s been five years of that, so situations like this I’m ready for them.”

The 21-year-old Kiwi impressed on his debut after finishing 13th in the tricky conditions at Zandvoort, having only completed one practice session and qualifying ahead of the race.

The Kiwi scored his first points in Formula 1 in the Singapore Grand Prix, and he impressed at Suzuka last weekend by beating Yuki Tsunoda. However, when it came to a 2024 race seat, Lawson was overlooked. He is set for another year as a reserve driver because Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda got the nod for the race seats.

Lawson expects to stay in the Red Bull family but says that when his stint as stand-in driver for Daniel Ricciardo is completed he will look at “what options are out there”.

“I’m a Red Bull driver and all of the Red Bull seats are filled and unfortunately for now I’ll be reserve driver,” said Lawson.

“Right now I’m trying to just do the best job in these races that I can. I think once this stint that I have is over, then I can start looking at potentially how I’ve done with what options are out there,” concluded Lawson.