Lawson not thinking about F1 possibilities – Speedcafe

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> News > Formula 1

By Mat Coch
Tuesday 6th September, 2022 – 10:15am
Liam Lawson
Liam Lawson is not thinking about a possible Formula 1 seat despite uncertainty surrounding Pierre Gasly’s future within the Red Bull structure.
Whether Gasly will remain with Scuderia AlphaTauri or move to Alpine is the next key part of the Formula 1 silly season.
The Frenchman has emerged as the front-runner for the seat vacated by Fernando Alonso, and in a sense Oscar Piastri, for 2023.
Gasly is under contract for next year but faces something of a roadblock with regard to his future within Red Bull.
He currently sits third in line behind Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez for a seat at the Austrian company’s lead operation.
Both Verstappen and Perez have contracts in place; the former locked away until 2028 and the latter to the end of 2024.
Gasly, therefore, needs to move out of the auspices of Red Bull if he is to progress his career.
The identity of a potential replacement is a matter of intense speculation, with two names primarily linked to the seat.
Haas’ Mick Schumacher has been one of the favourites.
The German is out of contract at the end of the season and has refused to speak about his future plans. He also looks set to depart the Ferrari Driver Academy.
Colton Herta is the other name which has been suggested, though the American faces a number of hurdles to make that reality.
Chief among those is the fact he does not have, and does not qualify, for a superlicence.
While there is a discussion that he could be given an exemption given his demonstrated pedigree in IndyCar, that is a route that has previously been trodden unsuccessfully.
Red Bull could also look internally, with a number of drivers within its junior programme beginning to show signs that they’re ready to progress.
Liam Lawson is arguably at the head of that queue.
The New Zealander has won three times in Formula 2 this season and has been engaged by Scuderia AlphaTauri for Free Practice 1 at the Belgian Grand Prix a little over a week ago.
“I think it’s obviously very easy to get excited,” Lawson said when asked about a potential F1 berth by Speedcafe.com.
“Look, it’s Formula 1, but at the end of the day, I need to finish strong in Formula 2.
“It hasn’t been the season that I would have liked it to be and I think we set out to have as well.
“So we need to do a better job and finish strongly and honestly, that is the biggest decider of, I think, what happens in the future.
“Obviously there’s a lot going on. It will be interesting to see how it all unfolds in the end. But for me, the only focus is driving this Formula 2 car as fast as I can.”
The 20-year-old is also not allowing himself to overthink the situation too much, especially when there is talk of bringing in a driver external to the programme into F1 ahead of him.
“At the end of the day, it just doesn’t really help you,” he said.
“Luckily for me, I’ve now been in this programme nearly four years.
“Every year it gets easier, dealing with the external pressure. Four years ago, I could have looked at all the different drivers that were in front of me, or around me, because there’s always quite a few Red Bull drivers.
“So I think at this point now, it’s just not worth looking at. And honestly, it doesn’t bother me too much; just focusing on this job [Formula 2] right now.”
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