Liam Lawson has been dropped in to replace Daniel Ricciardo after the Australian broke his wrist during Friday practice for the Dutch Grand Prix.
The Kiwi is a known face around the F1 paddock but comes as an unknown quantity having never raced in Formula 1 before.
Saturday’s FP3 will not be his first time in an F1 car though having taken part in an official practice session in the past.
Who is Daniel Ricciardo replacement Liam Lawson?
Lawson is a New Zealand born driver who is coached by his compatriot and three-time grand prix winner Ken Smith.
Before he had even turned 17 years of age, he had raced in Formula First, Formula Ford, Formula Four, Formula Three Asia and the Toyota Racing Series, managing to win on his debut in every single race. He won the Toyota title in 2019 before moving to F2 in 2021.
Described by Red Bull as “one of the most prodigious talents” in their academy, he has often been thought of as on the precipice of an F1 seat.
Many had expected that chance to come next year, taking Ricciardo’s spot at AlphaTauri, but his debut will come earlier than planned with the 21-year-old already in the Zandvoort paddock.
Shortly after FP2, Lawson was spotted entering the garage and reportedly attended the drivers briefing later on Friday.
How long has Liam Lawson been with Red Bull?
As was the case with the likes of Sebastian Vettel, Max Verstappen and Ricciardo, Lawson is a member of the Red Bull Junior team having joined in February 2019. He is also one of the current longest-serving members, beaten only by Dennis Hauger who joined a year earlier.
In racing for AlphaTauri, Lawson will join a 14-man list including Vettel, Verstappen, Carlos Sainz, Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon of drivers who graduated from the academy into a Red Bull sister team seat.
What is Liam Lawson’s F1 experience?
Lawson’s first taste of life behind an F1 car came at the 2021 Goodwood Festival of Speed, where he drove the 2011 Red Bull RB7.
At the end of the 2021 season, Lawson took part in the Abu Dhabi Young Driver Test with AlphaTauri, driving the AT02 and would serve as reserve/test driver for the team the following year.
In 2022, he made his first free practice debut at the Belgian Grand Prix. He also drove for the team during the 2022 Mexican Grand Prix FP1 but his running was cut short following a brake fire.
What series does Liam Lawson currently compete in?
Having left F2 at the end of the 2022 season, he moved to Japan to compete in the 2023 Super Formula Championship with Team Mugen.
He made an excellent start to life in the series by winning his first race and becoming the only driver to do just that. His good form has continued as the season has gone on with the Kiwi picking up three wins from the first seven races.
Heading into the final two races of the year, Lawson trails championship leader Ritomo Miyata by eight points.