POLL: AlphaTauri’s 2024 F1 driver line-up
Monday 25th September, 2023 - 3:00pm
Scuderia AlphaTauri has locked in its driver line-up for the 2024 Formula 1 season but now we ask you to weigh in, in this week’s Pirtek Poll.
The Faenza-based squad announced during the Japanese Grand Prix weekend that it will field Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda next year, with Liam Lawson to remain a reserve driver for the Red Bull teams.
Ironically, Lawson was driving one of the AlphaTauris at Suzuka, filling in for the injured Ricciardo and finishing 11th on Sunday afternoon.
The New Zealander has been impressive during his first four grands prix and hence we ask the question; did AlphaTauri make the right call, or would you have opted for a different pairing?
Obviously, one driver was always going to be disappointed given there were three vying for two seats with the second Red Bull team.
First, then, to address Ricciardo.
The Australian is an eight-time grand prix winner. Granted, he is now 34 years of age but, as Fernando Alonso has demonstrated, he potentially has several years ahead of him.
Ricciardo hit the ground running in an unfamiliar car when he took over Nyck de Vries’ seat just before the summer break and, according to Tsunoda, has been an asset with the engineering feedback which he has delivered to the struggling team.
For the Red Bull family, he is also a known quantity, and one who is well-liked. Furthermore, he would not have returned for just half a season of competition.
Tsunoda, granted, has the advantage of being a Honda-backed driver and hence the suggestion might reasonably be raised that he has retained his seat for reasons other than sporting merit.
After all, it is Lawson who, in just his third round, delivered AlphaTauri’s best result of the season to date when he finished ninth in Singapore.
However, Tsunoda is an improved driver this year, displaying far greater maturity and seeing off his first team-mate of the season, Nyck de Vries.
The Japanese pilot, too, is also a known quantity, and could also reasonably have considered himself unlucky given the progress which he has made in 2023.
Lawson, though, has done a stellar job considering the circumstances in which he took over the other AlphaTauri seat.
The 21-year-old did well just to make the chequered flag at Zandvoort, where he was thrust into a race drive after Ricciardo broke his hand, and has finished no lower than 11th in the three races since.
He can therefore make a strong claim for a seat of his own, perhaps stronger than Tsunoda’s, but is the timing right; is it worth the risk of making another change to AlphaTauri’s driver line-up for a youngster who, until last Sunday, had started just three grands prix?
For Lawson, time is clearly on his side, even if he would prefer a full-time race drive sooner rather than later.
However, the Hastings native has ensured that he is next in line, amid question marks over Sergio Perez’s longer-term future at Red Bull Racing.
If Red Bull chiefs do opt not to renew Perez, then Ricciardo is likely promoted back to his old seat and Lawson gets the call-up; if they lose patience with Tsunoda next year…
Again, Lawson gets the call-up.
Three drivers made strong, yet different claims for two seats, and AlphaTauri has made its decision.
Was it the right one, or would you have opted for a different driver pairing? Cast your vote below in this week’s Pirtek Poll.