Liam Lawson reveals random AlphaTauri call to confirm Qatar GP go-ahead

Daniel Ricciardo was expected to be back driving for AlphaTauri in Qatar

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Liam Lawson says a surprise lunchtime Facetime call from Daniel Ricciardo on Monday was when he found out he was racing for AlphaTauri in Sunday’s 2023 Qatar Grand Prix.

Since being drafted in to replace Ricciardo after sustaining a hand injury in a practice crash for the Dutch GP, Lawson has shone for AlphaTauri, scoring two valuable points thanks to a ninth place finish at the Singapore GP.

Ricciardo had been expected to return to duty for Qatar, but with his recovery taking longer than anticipated, Lawson was called up again by AlphaTauri to partner Tsunoda.

“On Monday,  I was sitting at lunch, and I had a random number call me, and it was FaceTime,” Lawson explained to the press. “I was really confused.

“Because people don’t just FaceTime randomly, so I answered it, and it was just Daniel’s face. He basically said that he thought he’d let me have another weekend. 

“So yeah, obviously good to be back in the car. This weekend’s a very different circuit. But I’m excited.”

Daniel Ricciardo Scuderia AlphaTauri ahead of 2023 Dutch Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Ricciardo likely to return for Austin

With a fortnight separating the Qatar and United States GP, Ricciardo will likely return to action at Austin less than two months after his F1 comeback was derailed.

Ricciardo was confirmed as a full-time AlphaTauri driver, where he will partner Tsunoda for 2024, with Lawson likely to return to his previous role as Red Bull’s reserve driver.

“I would say it’s more likely that he will be back in Austin,” told Lawson when asked what race Ricciardo will likely make his comeback at. ​​ “I think that’s definitely the target.

“Obviously, I can’t say for certain. But we have over a week to give more time to be ready for it. To be honest, after Japan, I guess it was looking more likely that [I] would be driving.

“So we just carried on preparing like normal. I didn’t assume I was driving, but we prepped like I would be. I want to be here full-time, but [I’m] just trying to make the most of this [opportunity].”

Ed Spencer
Ed Spencer
FIA accredited journalist
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