This weekend, Liam Lawson will make his formal F1 debut as a stand-in for AlphaTauri lead driver Pierre Gasly in FP1.
At the conclusion of last season, the 20-year-old New Zealander drove the team’s AT02 in the young driver test, and as a result, he was chosen test and reserve driver for this season.
Lawson will take over the AT03 from Gasly before the Belgian Grand Prix as part of the F1 regulations for this year, which require all teams to give rookie drivers an FP1 outing.
Lawson will combine that job with his F2 responsibilities, where he now ranks ninth in the drivers’ standings after two sprint victories and four additional podium appearances heading into the last four races.
“Super excited to say I’ll be doing my first ever FP1 this weekend in Spa,” said Lawson. “Honestly couldn’t think of a better place to do it. It’s going to be a very exciting feeling, a historic track and a place I’ve always enjoyed driving, so in a Formula 1 car it’s going to be incredible.”
“I’ve been doing a lot of sim work as well leading up to this so the prep’s been really good. Obviously, I had my first outing last year in December, and since then I’ve been dying to get back in the car.”
However, Lawson has disclosed one part of his preparation that he was able to address this time around as opposed to his young driver outing from the previous year.
“I did my seat fit and nailed it first try, which is not normal for me,” added Lawson. “The last time I did the seat fit at the 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.”
“So for the first time ever, it was perfectly symmetrical and really, really nice to sit in so that was definitely a success.”