Kiwi youngster Liam Lawson confirms FIA Formula 3 drive
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Kiwi teenager Liam Lawson will get another opportunity to show his skills to the world in the FIA Formula 3 Championship. It's been confirmed that the 17-year-old will join Hitech Grand Prix alongside British driver Max Fewtrell and Dennis Hauger of Norway.
The move forms the next chapter of Lawson's stint as a Red Bull Junior driver, with race victories in the series the likely goal.
Lawson debuted in FIA F3 last year and endured an up-and-down season. He ended the season in 11th place with two podiums (a third place at Silverstone and a second at Monza) to his credit. Curiously, he finished one spot in the points between new teammate Fewtrell, and two spots behind fellow Red Bull Junior driver Yuki Tsunonda.
Critical to Lawson's improvement is the shift from MP Motorsport to Hitech Grand Prix. The latter sport a suprior recent record in Formula 3, having guided Juri Vips to fourth place and Leonardo Pulcini to eighth place in last year's championship — simultaneously finishing second in the category's team's championship as a result.
Among the more interesting sub-plots in junior open-wheel formula racing is the interplay between Red Bull Junior drivers as each fights for a spot in the firm's Formula 1 squad. And Lawson will no doubt play a vast role in this race-within-a-race.
He currently leads the 2020 Castrol Toyota Racing Series (round three of which kicks off this weekend at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park), subsequently placing him three positions ahead of fellow Red Bull Junior driver Tsunoda. Yet curiously it's Tsunoda that has made the off-season jump in Europe from F3 to F2 with Carlin. Lawson's F3 teammate Fewtrell is also a Red Bull Junior driver, as is second-gen racer Jack Doohan of Australia. Doohan, however, will race for another team (HWA Racelab).
A second straight TRS championship followed by a confident season in Formula 3 could see Lawson advance to Formula 2, or potentially see him head over to Japan's Super Formula series to follow in the footsteps of Nick Cassidy.
Fellow Kiwi Marcus Armstrong has already illustrated the potential for progression, having made it into F2 with ART Grand Prix, after finishing second in last year's F3 title chase while on debut in the series.
Either way, with better knowledge of the cars and tracks — plus a more competitive car underneath him — Lawson's 2020 season is going to be one to watch.