From the red dunes of Losail, Qatar, it’s been announced that driver Liam Lawson is once again set to step behind the wheel for AlphaTauri at the upcoming Qatar Grand Prix. He received this news quite unexpectedly, through a surprise FaceTime call from none other than his fellow racer, Daniel Ricciardo.
Previously, Lawson had taken on Ricciardo’s seat for the preceding four races, a move necessitated by Ricciardo’s hand bone injury in a nasty crash during a practice session at the Dutch Grand Prix. Initially, the Australian driver was looking towards the Qatar Grand Prix to make his high-octane return. However, that has been pushed back with him now eyeing the U.S. and Mexico double header taking place on October 22 and 29.
This unexpected call from Ricciardo saw Lawson’s lunchtime get interrupted rather dramatically. Lawson describes the incident saying, “On Monday I was sitting at lunch and I had a random number call me and it was a FaceTime.” The unexpected sight of Ricciardo’s face on the screen left him understandably perplexed.
Continuing his story, Lawson said, “I was really confused because people don’t just FaceTime randomly, so I answered it and it was just Daniel’s face!” Ricciardo then revealed that his recovery plan would now extend to cover the Qatar Grand Prix, leaving Lawson to continue his stand-in role. A thrilled Lawson spoke about the news saying “He basically said that he thought he’d let me have another weekend. Obviously, good to be back, good to be in the car this weekend. I’m excited.”
Shortly after this news broke, London-based fans got a glimpse of Ricciardo at the Red Bull’s UK factory at Milton Keynes. He shared a selfie there, tantalising his followers with the caption: “Another day on the sim. Getting closer. See y’all in Austin.”
Looking ahead to 2024, the AlphaTauri team have confirmed that Ricciardo is very much a part of their plans. He will continue to don the AlphaTauri colours, racing alongside teammate Yuki Tsunoda. As for Lawson, his impressive stand-in performances have earned him a spot as Red Bull‘s reserve driver for the upcoming year.