Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda have been confirmed as AlphaTauri drivers for the 2024 Formula 1 season, with Liam Lawson missing out on a full time drive despite his impressive performances in the last three races.
AlphaTauri, which will undergo a name change over the winter, currently lies at the bottom of the constructors’ championship table with only five points scored in 2023.
“Scuderia AlphaTauri is pleased to announce its full driver line up for the 2024 season as Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo continue to race for the team,” the team said in a statement.
“Current Japanese Super Formula title contender and AlphaTauri driver, Liam Lawson will reprise his role as reserve driver for both Red Bull teams, focusing on testing, simulator sessions and development work, attending all the races full time.”
New bosses Laurent Mekies and Peter Bayer will retain the same driver line-up, which has been in place since July’s Hungarian Grand Prix after Ricciardo was drafted to replace 2021 Formula E world champion Nyck de Vries midway through 2023.
“I’m so happy to announce that I will be staying with AlphaTauri for the 2024 Formula 1 season”, said Yuki Tsunoda.
“I’m looking forward to continuing to fight and collaborate with the team and Daniel. Obviously, I’ll push as much as possible for the rest of the season and beyond, to progress as a driver.
“I’m grateful for Red Bull and Honda, for continuing to support and believe in me, and very happy and thankful to continue the partnership.”
With Ricciardo‘s and Tsunoda‘s spots on the F1 grid secured, only one drive, the second Williams seat currently occupied by Logan Sargeant, is left unfilled.
Ricciardo’s second stint at Faenza continues
Following his departure from McLaren at the end of 2022, Ricciardo had been set to spend the 2023 F1 season as Red Bull‘s reserve driver, conducting simulator work and marketing events before a potential full-time comeback.
Ricciardo had been testing for Red Bull during the post-British GP Pirelli tyre test when news broke he would replace De Vries from the Hungarian GP following the Dutchman’s unhappy start to the season.
“I’m stoked to be driving with Yuki again next year and continuing the journey with AlphaTauri,” Ricciardo said in a statement released by the team.
“Following the progress we have already made and the plans for the future, it’s an exciting time for the Team. We are building and it is a great feeling. There is a lot of work to do, but we are heading in the right direction and there is a lot to look forward to. Bring on 2024!”
On his first weekend back in F1, Ricciardo qualified a respectable 13th before finishing in the same position after being caught up in an opening lap incident with the Alpines and Zhou Guanyu.
However, his comeback season was interrupted at the Dutch GP. During FP2, Ricciardo hit the wall at Turn 3, trying to avoid Oscar Piastri, damaging his hand and putting him out of action.
Fourth season for Tsunoda
After a rapid surge up the feeder series ranks, Tsunoda was promoted to F1 with AlphaTauri for 2021, becoming the sport’s first Japanese driver since Kamui Kobayashi drove for Caterham in 2014.
Despite an impressive F1 debut where he finished ninth in Bahrain, Tsunoda struggled in his rookie year, with Alex Albon being installed as a mentor to help him get back on track.
Nonetheless, he kept his seat for 2022, and although the team’s car was worse than its predecessor, Tsunoda scored 12 points and a best finish of seventh at Imola.
For 2023, Tsunoda upped his game again, convincingly out-qualifying De Vries by a margin of 8-2 and comprehensively out-racing the Dutchman on his way to scoring three 10th place finishes.
Lawson loses out on AlphaTauri seat
Confirmation of Tsunoda and Ricciardo being retained at AlphaTauri means Liam Lawson will likely spend another season as Red Bull’s reserve driver for 2024.
Lawson has impressed so far as a stand-in for Ricciardo, making Q3 on only his third F1 appearance in Singapore before securing a ninth-place finish, the highest placing for an AlphaTauri driver in 2023.
With Ricciardo likely out of action until late October’s United States GP, Lawson’s 2023 F1 cameo is expected to end at the Qatar GP held in a fortnight.
Lawson will return to Suzuka in late October for a doubleheader weekend, where he goes head-to-head with championship leader Ritomo Miyata for the Super Formula title.