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Liam Lawson: Moving Up the Ladder

Written by Jenny Clynes, Edited by Meghana Sree

Will Liam Lawson eventually partner Verstappen at Red Bull one day? Image credit - Adam Pretty/Getty Images

Liam Lawson is a twenty-one year old New Zealand racing driver who currently competes in the 2023 Super Formula Championship. However, since his career debut in 2011, he has been steadily working his way up the ladder to Formula One.

Lawson has been a part of the Red Bull Racing junior team since February 2019 and has since become the reserve driver for both Red Bull and their sister team, Alpha Tauri. He is highly regarded by most as one of the most promising drivers in the junior team.

Despite Lawson technically being the next in line to inherit an Alpha Tauri seat, it was Daniel Ricciardo who ultimately filled the seat when Nyck de Vries was removed from the team. Some critics dubbed this as unfair, however, the team justified the decision by stating how it would be unfair for a rookie to start his debut season halfway through the season. This seems logical and fair, and suggests that it will soon be Lawson's time to move up into Formula One. Helmut Marko and the team have been training Lawson for the move since his early Red Bull career, and he could very possibly be the future of Red Bull Racing.

Lawson is Red Bull's reserve driver for 2023, Image credit - Peter Fox/Getty Images

Lawson’s journey so far through the ranks to become a Formula One driver has been nothing short of impressive. In 2021, Lawson raced for the Red Bull AF Corse team in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters, alongside the current Williams’ F1 driver Alex Albon.

After having a highly admirable run, winning the opening race in Monza, he just narrowly missed out on reaching the championship in the final round. In July of the same year, Lawson had his first experience in a Formula One car when he drove the RB17 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Finally that year, he completed his first young drivers test in an Alpha Tauri in Abu Dhabi.

For the 2022 season, he was made the reserve and test driver for Alpha Tauri and later Red Bull Racing. He soon had his Formula One debut during a free practice at the 2022 Belgian Grand Prix. He completed two more free practices during that season, one in an Alpha Tauri in Mexico, and the other in a Red Bull in Abu Dhabi. He then took part in post-season testing. Alongside his Formula One duties in 2022, he also managed to come third in the Formula Two Championship. As of the 2023 season, Lawson is a reserve driver for both Red Bull and Alpha Tauri.

In February, he drove the RB7 for a demo during the Bathurst 12 hours. He currently competes in the 2023 Super Formula Championship for Team Mugen, where he made history by becoming the first driver in Super Formula to win on their debut.

So far, he stands second in the championship. This just highlights his immense success in motorsport, which is especially noteworthy when we consider that his family has no motorsport history. At the end of this season, he is set to complete the young drivers test which will contribute in determining his future in Formula One.

As Alex Albon previously stated when asked about Lawson’s ‘snub’ for the Alpha Tauri seat, Lawson’s “time will come”, as he makes a strong case for a place in a future Formula One season. Ultimately, when looking at his progress since his career began, Lawson would be an exciting talent to add to the grid. Soon, he may come close to achieving his dream of becoming a Formula One World Champion.


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