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Kiwi Liam Lawson will make his F1 debut

Liam Lawson looks set to take his next step towards Formula 1 racing.

After being announced earlier in the season as the rookie test driver for AlphaTauri, the Kiwi driver could be behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car at the Belgian Grand Prix when the series returns from its summer break later this month.

Lawson is set to benefit from the introduction of the rookie driver test program in which each Formula 1 team must give an up-and-coming driver the chance to man one of the team’s two cars for a practice session at a Grand Prix. The team must give two such opportunities throughout the season.

After last weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost said their plan was to give Lawson his first practice run when the teams resume racing at the Spa-Francorchamps Circuit in the east Belgium.

It won’t be the first time Lawson has been able to drive a Formula 1 car. Late last year, he completed 125 laps at the Abu Dhabi circuit in a test session for AlphaTauri.

Still, it’s an interesting choice of venue to give Lawson his first run behind the wheel given the stop is known for its unpredictable weather, which could indicate the team’s interest in seeing how Lawson handles the pitch upwards in test conditions.

In 2021, rain severely affected racing at the Belgian Grand Prix to the point that the feature race was stopped for hours before the drivers could complete two laps – both under a safety car – before the race was stopped once again and finally cancelled.

AlphaTauri runs as a sister team to Red Bull Racing and with Lawson part of the Red Bull junior program, it’s a partnership that makes a lot of sense. As it stands, Lawson is the reserve driver for both Red Bull and AlphaTauri – meaning that if one of Max Verstappen (Red Bull), Sergio Perez (Red Bull), Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) or Yuki Tsunoda ( AlphaTauri) is unable to compete. In one case, Lawson would probably be the one driving in their place.

AlphaTauri has yet to confirm its driver line-up for 2023. While Gasly is locked in for another season, Tsunoda has yet to re-sign beyond this season. It is one of several places still up for grabs in the 2023 season, with Alpine, Alfa Romeo, Haas and Williams all still having a place to fill their line-up, with plenty of young talent pushing their Formula 2 claims for shooting at the top level.

Lawson is among those drivers, sitting eighth in the standings after 10 of 14 rounds. The 20-year-old has had a mixed campaign in 2022. Starting the year with three podium finishes in as many races – including a sprint race win in Jeddah – Lawson has been consistent in the points throughout the campaign.

However, he had his share of bad luck as he was forced to retire four times – three of them in feature races where more points are on offer – while a bad pit saw him drop out of the points during the feature race in Baku.

In the last two events, in France and Hungary, Lawson has returned to where he would like to be with a race win and three top seven finishes.

The season restarts in Belgium from August 27.

Kiwi Liam Lawson will make his F1 debut

Source link Kiwi Liam Lawson will make his F1 debut

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