Franz Tost provides an assessment of Lawson’s 2023 performance: “He deserves to be in F1, 100%”

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Franz Tost, the second longest-serving team principal in the current lineup, is set to bid farewell to the Formula 1 paddock after the 2023 season. Ex-Ferrari man Laurent Mekies is set to take over at AlphaTauri from 2024 onwards.

Speaking to Tom Clarkson on the Beyond the Grid podcast ahead of the finale in Abu Dhabi, Tost reflected on his impressive 18-year tenure at Red Bull’s junior team. During the conversation he also provided his assessment of Red Bull affiliated drivers, past and present.

Photo credit: Red Bull Content Pool

He spoke highly of Liam Lawson, who subbed in for an injured Daniel Ricciardo at AlphaTauri in the second half of the season, effectively establishing himself as a rising star in the sport. Despite his impressive performance, the team chose to retain Ricciardo and Tsunoda for 2024, with Lawson staying on as a reserve driver. According to Tost, Lawson deserves a spot on the grid in the future.

“Liam Lawson deserves a race seat in Formula 1,” said Tost.

“He was put into the car in Zandvoort under very difficult circumstances: wet conditions, dry conditions.

“He was out the first time with a Formula 1 car and with full wet tyres, then he had to change to the intermediates, and he managed everything without doing any mistake. Very, very good job.”

Before being called up last-minute to replace Ricciardo at the Dutch Grand Prix, Lawson had been competing in Super Formula, a racing series held primarily in Japan. Lawson finished the season as runner-up, and confirmed he will not be returning to the series in 2024, choosing instead to focus on his duties as a reserve driver.

Tost believes that Lawson’s experience in Japan has contributed significantly to his growth as a driver.

“And I must also say that Liam got much more mature now. I think this year in Japan has helped him a lot.”

“He did a fantastic race in Singapore—because Singapore is not an easy track, which means he takes the physical training also [seriously]. Therefore he scored two points, he finished 9th. He deserves to be in Formula 1, 100%.”