Liam Lawson drove for Formula 1 team AlphaTauri in a practice session last weekend. Photo/Getty Images
Kiwi Formula 2 driver Liam Lawson is unsure what 2023 has in store for him and is watching with interest as the Formula 1 paddock slowly settles in for next season.
The 20-year-old was
is among a list of names linked with a potential Formula 1 opportunity next year, with seats still available with Alpine, Alfa Romeo, AlphaTauri, Williams and Haas.
The Red Bull junior had his first opportunity to drive a Formula 1 in Belgium last week, with a solid ride in a rain-shortened practice session for Red Bull’s sister team AlphaTauri instead by Pierre Gasly.
AlphaTauri is of particular interest to fans and pundits alike as Gasly’s position is likely to impact vacant seats around the paddock. Gasly is signed with the team until the end of the 2023 season, but has buyout options in his contract if another team comes knocking.
He has been strongly linked with a move to Alpine for next year, after young Australian Oscar Piastri spurned the French outfit in favor of joining McLaren in place of compatriot Daniel Ricciardo.
There are a lot of moving parts in the Formula 1 driver market, but if Gasly drove for another team in 2023 AlphaTauri would be left with two seats to fill as they have yet to re-sign Yuki Tsunoda beyond that. of the 2022 season, although it is expected that the young Japanese driver will be retained.
Lawson, the highest ranked Red Bull junior in Formula 2 so far this season and reserve driver for the AlphaTauri and Red Bull Formula 1 teams, has found himself among several drivers linked to a vacant AlphaTauri seat should he materialize.
In an interview with Formula 2 on Instagram, Lawson said he didn’t know where he was going to be in 2023 but didn’t have any developments yet.
“I’m watching with as much interest as you guys,” Lawson said. “I will only find out what is important to me when necessary. Right now all I need to know is to focus on Formula 2.”
Lawson has worked extensively with Formula 1 teams Red Bull and AlphaTauri this season, and said it has been a vital learning period should he have further opportunities to get behind the wheel at F1 level.
“Formula 1 is so advanced that until you start gaining experience and getting involved, it’s impossible to really learn all the stages that are there.”
Other drivers linked to the AlphaTauri seat include American IndyCar driver Colton Herta and Haas driver Mick Schumacher. Herta is under contract with McLaren and is expected to be bought out of that contract to join AlphaTauri, while he is also without the license required to allow him to drive Formula 1 in 2023. However, with three races in the United States (Miami, Texas and Las Vegas) on the 2023 schedule, a push for an American on the grid would make sense.
But as the racing world waits impatiently for the chips to start falling, Lawson remains focused on finishing the Formula 2 season in top form.
With just three events remaining on the schedule, Lawson sits fifth in the standings and, while the championship is likely out of his reach, a top-three finish is still a realistic goal.
Despite the odds against him, Lawson has had speed all season and been a consistent presence in the points. Last weekend in Belgium he won the sprint race and finished third in the distance race and was hoping this weekend’s event in the Netherlands would be just as successful.
“I’ve been asked this question quite a bit over the weekend, whether this was the turning point of the season. But I think we’ve always been at this level. This whole season has been very good, so it was nice to have everything going well for us and have a nice weekend.
“Now that there are three laps to go, the ideal would be to finish strong and have a good last three laps.”