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Daniel Ricciardo ‘given two races to save F1 seat’ with Liam Lawson waiting in wings

Daniel Ricciardo has reportedly been given a two-race ultimatum to save his seat at RB by Red Bull motorsport adviser Helmut Marko after a disappointing start to the 2024 F1 season.

The popular Australian, who was axed by McLaren in 2022 but found a route back into the sport via Red Bull’s sister team last season, has failed to register a single point in the opening three races of the season.

While RB team-mate Yuki Tsunoda earned six points via his seventh-place finish in the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on Sunday, Ricciardo lined up last on the grid and finished outside the top-10 in 12th.

Now, Red Bull reserve and New Zealand racer Liam Lawson could deputise as early as the Miami Grand Prix in May should Ricciardo’s performances not improve at the next two races in Japan and China.

A report in the NZ Herald states that Lawson, who impressed in place of an injured Ricciardo for five races at AlphaTauri last year, could be installed as Ricciardo’s replacement for the rest of the season.

It adds that 22-year-old Lawson is seen within Red Bull as the team’s best option to partner Max Verstappen at Red Bull in the long-term.

Sergio Perez’s contract at the world champions expires at the end of the season, with the likes of Ricciardo, Tsunoda and Sunday’s winner in Australia Carlos Sainz all linked with the second seat.

Red Bull Racing and RB have , however, denied claims that Ricciardo’s future is at stake in the next two race

Ricciardo, an eight-time race winner, insisted he would not be “rattled” by a start to the season which sees him trail team-mate Tsunoda by six points in the championship standings.

“Obviously the weekend I would have loved to have gone better,” the 34-year-old said. “But I think we’ve just got to keep our eyes on the prize.

“It hasn’t been the best three races to start the season for sure and especially the preparation I had coming into the season, it’s definitely not where I expected to be.

Daniel Ricciardo could be replaced by Liam Lawson as soon as the Miami Grand Prix in May (Getty Images)
Daniel Ricciardo could be replaced by Liam Lawson as soon as the Miami Grand Prix in May (Getty Images)

“But it’s certainly not something that we’re going to get rattle by or anything. We’ve just got to stay on course and I’m sure we’ll find it.

“I would have loved the season to have started better but we’ll just keep digging. I think, as well, the car hasn’t really changed from last year. Obviously it’s a bit of an update, but its characteristics and everything are very similar. So I think there’s some confidence in that.

“It’s not that we’ve changed everything and all of a sudden this car suits Yuki and doesn’t suit me, I certainly don’t feel it’s anything like that.

“I think we will find something. I thought it would have been this weekend. Maybe it’s next and if it’s not the next then we’ll keep going until it happens and it will happen.”

The next race in Japan is at Suzuka on 5-7 April.