Motorsport: Kiwi Liam Lawson on fast-track to F1 with Red Bull Racing, but focused on F2 campaign

Liam Lawson is on a fast-track to the pinnacle of motorsport, but the Hastings teenager isn't looking too far ahead.

The 18-year-old has earned a seat in Formula Two for the 2021 season, with Red Bull Racing's feeder team, Hitech GP. A quick progression for the Kiwi, who was only recruited by the Red Bull Junior Team back in February 2019.

Two quality F3 campaigns, including a fifth-place finish in the 2020 championship has seen Lawson graduate to within one step of the Formula One.

Lawson had a successful test in Hitech's F2 car in Bahrain at the end of last year, impressing Red Bull bosses enough to earn the drive, and follow in the footsteps of current F1 stars Carlos Sainz, Pierre Gasly, Max Verstappen and Danil Ricciardo - all former Red Bull Junior Team drivers. 

"The test was really good," Lawson tells Newshub.

"It was a big step up from F3 - the car was very different. The drivability was very different and the car was twice the size. 

"It was a very intense experience, running close to 700 horsepower, so it was a lot more difficult than what I have been used to. 

"It was pretty cool - we are getting closer to the end goal, but it's important to not look too far ahead and focus on this season. 

"We should have a pretty competitive package, but we will find out more about that in a few weeks at pre-season testing."

That end goal? A seat in F1. And given the current COVID-19 climate, Lawson could be a few positive test results away from a F1 drive with Alpha Tauri (Red Bull's sister team).

And for the Young Kiwi flyer, seeing a former foe graduate to the big show has made that dream all the more realistic.

"It's pretty exciting to see my good friend Yuji Tsunoda get a F1 gig with Alpha Tauri. 

"Just 12 months ago I was racing him here in New Zealand, so it's pretty surreal to see how quickly he has got to the main game. 

"It's exciting how close I am getting, but I'm still not there yet as I said, so the focus is on this campaign."

And Red Bull has a history of promoting young talent if they produce the results. Lawson is no exception and he knows his future is in his own hands. Produce and earn the rewards, as he did in Bahrain in December. 

"I guess it [test] went as well as they expected and hoped for. 

"With the programme that I am in, it's all performance-based, so if you keep performing you keep moving up and progressing. 

"[I've] been fortunate enough to get to where I am now, but it's up to me to continue that progression. 

"I have a strong, proven teammate this season so that is a great measuring stick. 

"The car was quick in post-season testing and if we have a quick enough car to win races then we are a shot [at winning the championship]." 

And 2021 will be Lawson's busiest yet, with confirmation from Red Bull, the teenager will drive alongside fellow Kiwi Nick Cassidy and 2020 Red Bull F1 driver Alex Albon in the German DTM series.

It's further testament to the regard in which Red Bull holds Lawson, as they re-enter the popular series with the intention of winning races.

"Everyone is talking about how cool it is to have Alexander Albon as a teammate, but I'm super excited to be racing with Nick Cassidy. 

"He is seriously good and has won everywhere he has been.

"I'll lean on Alex - he has been where I want to be, but this should be a really good, developing experience for me and I'm really looking forward to it. 

"I don't have much experience in tin tops so that'll be unique for me. I didn't really see this coming, but it's a real big opportunity for me and I have to make the most of it."

And Lawson hasn't forgotten about home. Just weeks after a sensational New Zealand Grand Prix weekend, Lawson admits he got the itch to compete and hopes timing will work out in 2022. 

"That was an awesome event. To have all the Kiwi stars come back home was really cool and I know the event organisers want an even better field next year.

"It's New Zealand's biggest motorsport race and I have had the honour to win one before, so to repeat that would be really cool and I hope we can make it happen."