SUZUKA, Japan (Reuters) -AlphaTauri confirmed Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda as their 2024 Formula One lineup on Saturday and said current stand-in Liam Lawson would be reserve driver for both of Red Bull’s teams.
The announcement at the Japanese Grand Prix ended speculation about which two of the three would be racing next year and left Williams as the only team with a potential vacancy.
New Zealander Lawson, 21, has impressed in three races as Ricciardo’s replacement since the 34-year-old Australian broke his hand in a crash last month.
“We are in a privileged position, where we have access to multiple great talents from the Red Bull world,” said AlphaTauri’s new CEO Peter Bayer in a statement.
“Both Daniel and Yuki have not just shown fantastic race craft but are also great global ambassadors for our team and our sport.
“Liam put himself in the spotlight of F1 in only three races and I am very happy that we can continue to prepare him for his future.”
Ricciardo, whose return to the team could still be some way off, said he was “stoked” to be continuing the career comeback he started this season.
The eight times race winner had begun the year taking time off following a difficult period at McLaren.
“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…bring on 2024,” Ricciardo said in the statement.
Tsunoda, Japan’s only current F1 driver and backed by AlphaTauri’s engine partner Honda, will be racing for a fourth season after joining in 2021.
“Next year, the technical regulations remain largely unchanged and it was therefore logical to go for continuity in our driver line-up too,” said outgoing team principal Franz Tost, who will be handing over to Laurent Mekies.
“I am very pleased with the development that Yuki has shown over the last two and a half years with our team and with Daniel’s great race-winning experience we will have one of the most competitive driver pairings on the grid in 2024.”
“Peter and Laurent will have a great duo to start the new season in the right direction.”
Lawson, the youngest driver on the grid, is also competing in Japan’s Super Formula series this season and is second with one round remaining.
AlphaTauri said the Kiwi driver will attend all F1 races next season, focusing on testing, simulator and development work.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London and Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; editing by Toby Davis and Shri Navaratnam)
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