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New Zealand star – who is Liam Lawson?

New Zealand star – who is Liam Lawson?

F2 / F3

Thursday, May 25, 2023, at 12:10 p.m

For those who have followed the Freshman series in recent years, the name Liam Lawson is certainly not unfamiliar.

With his impressive results, the New Zealand driver won the approval of not only the public, but also that of Red Bull. Where did the 21-year-old’s career begin and where is it headed?

The beginning of a private career

Lawson stands out from the youth ranks because he didn’t start his career in Europe: he competed in his country until he was 15, and in 2017 made his debut on the Australian Formula 4 grid.

“My family wouldn’t let me race in Europe, let alone go karts in Australia. So at the age of 12, I stopped doing it and thanks to a youth program I got a seat in single-seater go-karts,” he said on an episode of Screaming Meals with him.

After winning silver in the Australian series championship, only Europe followed, with a second-place finish in German Formula 4 in 2018. This was followed by a brief return to New Zealand, where, after winning the 2019 Toyota Racing Series, he appeared on the Euroformula Open and at the same time Among Formula-3 drivers.

Red Bull Junior Program

In 2019, on his 17th birthday, Lawson signed his contract with Energy Drinks. Then, the Red Bull-painted cars easily turned heads both in the 2020 TRS season and in the Formula-3 field, finishing last season, after a poor first year, with fifth place overall. From there, the straight track led to Formula-2, which, in parallel, cemented the DTM field as Alex Albon’s teammate with a Ferrari painted Red Bull. As the biggest achievement of his career to date, the New Zealander managed to win his first race in both series. In F2, he finished on pole twice (but snatched away the win in Monaco), finished the championship in ninth place, while the German Touring Car Series finished in a cup for second place after a very close points race and a dramatic season finale. race.

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Dr. praised. Helmut Marko midway through the 2021 season. “He’s very focused and works well with the engineers. If he finds a weak spot he works on it until it’s gone. But what’s most surprising is how easy it is to switch between DTM and F2 cars.”

The Red Bull youngster has spent 2022 focused almost exclusively on Formula 2 and has also played as test and reserve driver for AlphaTauri. This time, he finished the prestigious junior tournament in third place, scoring four wins and many podiums with Karelin. This year, he sat in first-class cars in three free practice sessions in Formula One: twice he was able to drive the AlphaTauri, and once he was able to race Verstappen’s world championship-winning RB18.

As well as delivering results, Red Bull’s replacement program is well known to work on a very simple principle: if the driver doesn’t work, the outside is wider. “He knows what he wants from us and he makes it very clear,” Lawson said of Helmut Marko in an interview with Sky Sports. It’s all clear and that’s part of the pressure we have to deal with. From the outside, it may seem that we are in a program that is very easy to let go of. It’s also the most direct route to Formula 1. It’s simple: if you’re good enough, you’ll be in. “

Where’s next?

The 21-year-old will spend the 2023 season in the Japanese Super Formula Championship with partner Mugen Honda, and could also secure the reserve driver position for Red Bull and Alpha Tauri. Many have wondered about Red Bull Junior’s mentor, Dr. Helmut Marko’s decision, however, was explained by the Austrian with simple justification: “The super formula is closer to F1 than Formula-2.”

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“It’s a very difficult environment. The Japanese drivers know every centimeter of every track, so it won’t be easy,” Marko said of the other difficulties of the Far East Series.

This isn’t the first time the former Austrian driver has taken a look at his junior’s skills in the Japanese series before entering the top category, with former Red Bull team member Pierre Gasly following a similar path. After winning the GP2 championship in 2016, the French driver cemented the Super Formula field in 2017, and during the year he was able to join the racing circuit. For now, Marco seems to be planning a career similar to Lawson’s. Based on his performances so far, the young New Zealander hasn’t disappointed: he’s won two out of four races, so he’s also leading the championship.

As in F2 and DTM, Lawson won his first race in Super Formula

Potential F1 opportunity on the horizon?

Pierre Gasly, who leaves AlphaTauri at the end of the 2022 season, has been replaced by Nyck de Vries, who has attracted the attention of the Italian team thanks to the entry of Williamses. However, his performance is far from Tsunoda’s, so rumors quickly surfaced about his possible mid-year replacement: many people could be suitable for his position, and currently Lawson seems to have the best chance for the position. However, the New Zealander does not want to draw conclusions from this: “I want to finish this season and compete for the championship. This will give me the best chances for next year. As for what happens [az F1-ben]He said after winning Autopolis…

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In addition, Marko also clarified who could be a candidate to replace De Vries if a replacement is necessary: ​​”If the situation worsens, our rookie drivers can be considered: mainly Liam Lawson and Ayumu Iwasa.”

Lots of factors can affect when a New Zealand driver can join the Speed ​​Circus grid again after the 2018 season. Red Bull’s known method is to change drivers during the year, so it’s not unreasonable that Liam Lawson could get a seat in Formula 1 this year. .

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