High hopes for Liam Lawson at Suzuka this weekend

Liam Lawson will be driving the AlphaTauri Formula One car on familiar circuit this weekend and the hopes of a nation are riding with him, both for the Kiwi to secure a good placing in the Grand Prix but also a place in the team going forward.

Sep 22, 2023

With much speculation surrounding Liam Lawson’s possible inclusion in the AlphaTauri team, the 21 year old from Pukekohe has quickly become one of Formula One’s big stories heading into the Japanese Grand Prix this weekend.

Many media outlets are reporting an imminent announcement from AlphaTauri will confirm Japanese teammate Yuki Tsunoda as retaining his drive with the Honda-powered AlphaTauri despite Lawson being the better performer on track. Anything can happen in F1 and that uncertainty has New Zealand motorsport fans crossing their fingers this weekend.

Should Lawson not be successful in securing a full time seat in 2024, it will spark some outrage, as Lawson’s performance over the past three outings has been the highlight of AlphaTauri’s 2023 season, with the Kiwi scoring his maiden points at Singapore last week.

And at Suzuka, Lawson has a great chance of improving on that tally, given he is no stranger to the circuit with recent experience as a competitor in Japan’s Super Formula series where is he battling for the championship.

“I’m excited about Suzuka, which I know pretty well, as I’m racing in the Super Formula championship this year. It means I’ve tested and raced there quite a few times, and I absolutely love it.” Said Lawson

“The Super Formula cars are fun to drive and are as close to Formula 1 as anything is, but in quite a unique way because it’s not the same feeling as a Formula 1 car. The car in Super Formula is very, very light and super agile to drive, with very high downforce, so it’s very enjoyable. But Suzuka is going to be very different in a Formula 1 car.” 

Lawson finished 4th in his Super Formula race at Suzuka back in April and with his knowledge of the Formula 1 car building after three Grand Prix’s the aim is for another Top ten, or possibly Top eight finish for both he and Tsunoda.

The car had some minor improvements made before Singapore and they seem to have favoured Lawson’s driving style, but time will tell if those tweaks translate to fast times on the iconic Suzuka circuit.

Regardless of the outcome this weekend, Lawson has demonstrated he is ready for Formula 1 and with AlphaTauri expected to confirm the 2024 lineup over coming days Kiwi F1 fanatics will be on the edge of their seats hoping for the best result one and off the circuit for Liam.