Motorsport: Kiwi Liam Lawson continues to be linked with Formula One as Red Bull reportedly eye mid-season switch

Kiwi Liam Lawson continues to be linked with a Formula One seat, with Red Bull appearing to be losing patience with Dutchman Nyck de Vries at Alpha Tauri.

Lawson, 21, was overlooked for the second Alpha Tauri seat at the end of 2022, as de Vries was selected ahead of a stable of Red Bull drivers to replace Pierre Gasly, who left to join French outfit Alpine. 

Alpha Tauri, formerly Toro Rosso, is the sister outfit of the Red Bull senior team, and has produced the likes of Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo and Carlos Sainz.

However, since stepping into Formula One after acting as a reserve driver for Mercedes, de Vries has struggled to fit the bill as a potential Red Bull option.

In eight completed races so far this season, de Vries is one of just two drivers yet to score a point. The 28-year-old's best result is 12th place, coming at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Liam Lawson with Red Bull at Bathurst.
Liam Lawson with Red Bull at Bathurst. Photo credit: Red Bull

For comparison, Alpha Tauri teammate Yuki Tsunoda has achieved two top-10 finishes for points, coming in Australia and Azerbaijan respectively.

With four races to go, including Monday's (NZ time) Austrian Grand Prix, Red Bull could swing the axe on de Vries mid-season, Alpha Tauri team principal Franz Tost told The Race.

To make matters worse, de Vries has qualified in last place in Austria.

However, de Vries still has time left to prove he belongs in Formula One. 

"Nyck decides, not the team," Tost said. "If Nyck shows a good performance, why should we change him?"

As far as potential replacements go if Red Bull were to make a sudden change, Lawson tops a very short list.

Red Bull's head of development Dr Helmut Marko already put the Kiwi's name forward as a replacement at Alpha Tauri, as well as ruling out fan favourite Ricciardo. 

This season, Lawson is racing in Japan's Super Formula series, with two wins from five races to sit second in the championship.

Aside from that, the Kiwi has already driven for both Alpha Tauri and Red Bull during 2022 practice sessions.

But while no decision has been made over the future of de Vries' seat, Tost says its future occupant will be decided by results on-track. 

"Liam has done a good job when he was driving for us last year in Abu Dhabi," he continued. 

"We have to see which driver is first of all available and matured enough and educated enough and ready to go to Formula One.

"This we will see, currently nothing has been decided."

Racing in Japan before switching to Formula One wouldn't be unheard of, with Gasly doing the same before he stepped into then-Toro Rosso in 2018, before advancing to Red Bull a year later. 

Fellow Red Bull juniors Ayumu Iwasa and Isack Nadjar are two other contenders should Red Bull make an early change, both currently racing in Formula Two.