Red Bull’s Liam Lawson is knocking on the door of the F1 dream

Formula 1 is the pinnacle of motorsport.

It has the fastest cars, the best drivers and is growing in popularity thanks to the Netflix hit Drive to Survive.

It’s a place where split-second decisions are made and tens of millions of dollars are at stake for the teams and the drivers.

A talented kid from Pukekohe, Liam Lawson, is knocking on the door of F1.

The 21-year-old is a reserve driver for Red Bull’s top team – their number one, Max Verstappen, is also a two-time world champion.

It’s an illustrious company, but Lawson fits right in – determined, talented and hardworking.

“For me it was always Formula 1. That’s the pinnacle of motorsport, of racing.”

Dad Jared describes it as an obsession that started when Lawson was six when he was introduced to motorsports through go-karting.

“We were hooked. And we did that for almost eight years, week after week.”

Already competitive back then, Lawson’s father recalls his son’s natural ability showing through.

“There was almost just an innate kind of intuition about where it should go. Especially at launch.”

Lawson switched to cars at 12 and left home at 16 to pursue his dream of becoming an F1 driver abroad – without looking back.

“When I was at school everyone was like, ‘You gotta have a backup plan, Liam, what’s your backup plan?’ And I never had a backup plan.”

He lives and breathes the sport 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, except at his month-long vacation home in Pukekohe to see family and friends.

On his most recent trip home, he had with him the suit and helmet he wore when he got to drive Verstappen’s car in a practice run at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last year.

“I’m very, very, very cool. Because those opportunities to drive the car are so rare. And I knew I had that one hour opportunity on the track with the rest of the Formula 1 grid.”

He impressed both Verstappen and Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner, who praised his performance.

He drove 350 km/h on this excursion, the fastest he has ever driven.

So fast that time feels different for Lawson.

“It’s funny because everything slows down, so when you’re in a race car, the more you drive – everything becomes more and more unconscious.”

To prepare himself mentally, Lawson has a performance coach that he talks to before and after each race, otherwise he prefers to tune out any distractions.

“I listen to a lot of music, probably more than any other driver I’ve seen. I always have headphones on before a race, even when I’m warming up and things like that. The only thing I consistently do is always get in the car on the left-hand side. I will never get in from the right.

Determined, cool under pressure and quick to react, Lawson’s pursuit of his F1 dream – to achieve one of the most coveted spots in racing – is now within reach.


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