Lawson felt that F1 chance was ‘slipping away’


Liam Lawson enjoyed a fortuitous entry into Formula 1, but before his unforeseen call-up last August the Red Bull hopeful felt that his chances of joining the elite were “slipping away”.

Lawson was called up at the last hour by Red Bull to replace Daniel Ricciardo at AlphaTauri following the latter's crash in FP2 at the Dutch Grand Prix in which the Aussie fractured his left hand.

The 21-year-old acquitted himself well on his debut and steadily improved thereafter. In just his third race, in Singapore, Lawson made it into Q3 in qualifying and scored his maiden championship points on race day.

He finished just outside the top ten in Japan before concluding his interim in Qatar. Lawson will revert to his reserve role this week in Austin where Ricciardo will return to active duty.

The Kiwi’s performances have put him on F1’s map, but despite his impressive interim he’ll be waiting in the wings again next season as AlphaTauri has opted to entrust its cars to Ricciardo and to Yuki Tsunoda in 2024.

Lawson knows however that his chances of joining the grid on a full-time basis in the future – likely with Red Bull or AlphaTauri – have skyrocketed thanks to his lucky break. And that’s a big change compared to just a few months ago.

“There’s always so much talk,” Lawson told SEN.

“No matter how much, no matter how positive or what people are saying, for me, until I have a contract in my hand that I’m a driver, then I think I’ll be satisfied.

“But right now, I don’t have that.

“For me, I just have to look at it in a way that, you know, two months ago I was definitely not being heavily considered for Formula 1 and almost, to be honest, I felt like it was starting to slip away a little bit.

“I think now, with this opportunity, that’s really helped that and at least maybe there’s an opportunity in future.

“But honestly, right now, nothing is confirmed for me. It’s going into next year as reserve and, at the moment, that’s all it is.”

After next weekend’s US Grand Prix, Lawson will head back to Japan to conclude his campaign in Super Formula at Suzuka.

He’s currently second in the standings, so the title is up for grabs. And he hopes that his five-race stint in F1 – which included his recent visit to Suzuka – will have brought some learnings that he’ll be able to apply at next week’s Super Formula finale. .

“I hope I can take some things from F1,” Lawson said.

“Obviously driving Suzuka recently was good but these guys I’m racing in Japan, it’s their backyard. They’ve raced there since they were very, very young.

“It’s going to be pretty tough, I’m sure.

“Something that was pretty clear was, even though I’d driven a Formula 1 car in previous years, jumping into Zandvoort meant…


“Obviously, the situation was extremely difficult with the conditions and the track layout, but it was a massive… it was more of an adjustment than I remembered.

“So I’m expecting quite a big adjustment going back to the Super Formula car.

“It’s something that has been quite strange because, for the last few months, my whole life has been Formula 1 and revolved around it.

“This week is the first time it’s been back to, you know, we’ve got another championship to try and fight for in literally two weeks’ time, so it’s all focused on that.,

“That’s going to be, I’m sure, extremely tough.”

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