Belgian Grand Prix – F2 driver Liam Lawson will take part in his first F1 session this weekend as he takes over Pierre Gasly’s car for FP1.
The twenty year old Kiwi is currently in his second year of F2 and has taken nine podiums, including three victories during that time. This year Lawson is also serving as test and reserve driver for both Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri, and it is the latter of the two who will give him his first experience of track time at a Grand Prix weekend.
A new rule for this season has made it mandatory that each team must hand over their cars to rookies, who have at most two Grand Prix starts to their names, for at least two FP1 sessions over the course of the year. So far only Williams (Nyck de Vries in Spain), Red Bull (Juri Vips in Spain), Mercedes (de Vries in France) and Alfa Romeo (Zhouo Guanyu’s debut in Bahrain apparently counting towards one of their rookie slots) have ticked off one of the mandatory sessions.
In a video posted to the AlphaTauri social media channels, Lawson announced the upcoming FP1 outing. “Super excited to say I’ll be doing my first FP1 this weekend in Spa. Honestly couldn’t think of a better place to do it, there’s going to be a very exciting feeling. Historic track and a place that I’ve always enjoyed driving, so in a Formula 1 car is gonna be incredible.
“I’ve been doing a lot of sim work over the year as well, leading up to this so I think the prep’s been really, really good and, obviously, I had my first outing last year in December and since then honestly I’ve been dying to get back in the car.”
The Kiwi went on to say that he’d just done his seat fitting for the weekend and went on to explain that he can be quite exacting with his seat preferences but that everything turned out perfect unlike the one he did last year before the Young Driver Test.
“I did my seat [fitting] today. Nailed it first try, which is not normal for me, honestly. So yeah, just so excited to get going. The last time I did the seat fit, end of last year, I messed up the first one. It wasn’t quite perfect, we had to change a few things. Normally, I’m quite a perfectionist when it comes to seats, I have a bit of OCD on how symmetrical it needs to be. And today, for the first time ever, it was perfectly symmetrical, and really, really nice to sit in so that was definitely a success.”
welcome back to the cockpit @LiamLawson30! ✌️
the young Kiwi will make his official F1 session debut this weekend at Spa 👌 taking over the wheel of Pierre's AT03 pic.twitter.com/6ZxwbDcPv5
— Scuderia AlphaTauri (@AlphaTauriF1) August 23, 2022