F1 Grid Set for Rookie Influx in 2025: Ricciardo’s Future in Doubt

By Score More

In a year that saw no rookies join the Formula 1 grid, change is almost certainly on the horizon for 2025. According to journalist Ben Hunt on the Inside The Piranha Club Podcast, the upcoming season could see several experienced drivers sidelined in favor of fresh talent, with multiple rookies poised to make their debut.

Among the most anticipated promotions is Andrea Kimi Antonelli, who is set to join Mercedes following Lewis Hamilton’s high-profile move to Ferrari. Another potential new face is Oliver Bearman, who is likely to replace Nico Hulkenberg at Haas, with Hulkenberg heading to Sauber. These shifts mean that two established drivers are likely to lose their spots in the paddock.

Jack Doohan is another rookie linked with a move, with rumors suggesting he could join Alpine as Esteban Ocon’s replacement. Meanwhile, Liam Lawson is making a strong case for a full-time seat in Formula 1 after an impressive five-race stint with AlphaTauri last year. The 22-year-old Kiwi’s standout performances have put him in direct competition with Daniel Ricciardo for the final seat within the Red Bull group.

Yuki Tsunoda has already secured his place at AlphaTauri for 2025, leaving Ricciardo and Lawson in a head-to-head battle for the remaining spot. Ricciardo, who is approaching his 250th Grand Prix entry, faces increasing pressure as his performances this year have been inconsistent. Although he delivered an important four-point finish under pressure in Canada, such results have been rare.

Lawson, who has a clause in his contract guaranteeing him either a Red Bull seat or the freedom to seek opportunities elsewhere, is confident in his potential. “I have shown what I can do,” Lawson stated, referencing his successful cameo last season. With no other teams currently showing interest, it’s Red Bull or bust for the New Zealander.

Ben Hunt weighed in on the situation, saying, “I think it’s [Liam] Lawson’s [seat]. Unfortunately for Daniel, his career has kind of gone backward. He didn’t have a good time at Renault and had a disastrous time at McLaren. He’s just not delivering and I think the pressure is on.”

The comments echo the sentiments of former F1 champion Jacques Villeneuve, who has been critical of Ricciardo’s recent performances. Villeneuve’s brutal assessment underscores the Australian driver’s struggles, stating that Ricciardo is “a shadow of his former self.”

Red Bull’s decision-makers are in no rush to finalize their choice between Ricciardo and Lawson, given the lack of external interest in Ricciardo. The next few races will be crucial for Ricciardo to prove he still has what it takes to compete at the highest level. As Lawson watches from the sidelines, he can only continue to impress in the simulator and behind the scenes.

The power lies in Ricciardo’s hands, but with each passing race without a new contract, the pressure mounts. The upcoming months will be critical in determining whether Ricciardo will remain in Formula 1 or if the sport will bid farewell to one of its most charismatic drivers at the end of the 2024 season.

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