Motorsport: How New Zealand's MIQ woes could damage career of Formula Two prospect Liam Lawson

New Zealand's managed isolation quarantine (MIQ) system could end up severely impacting the career of rising motorsport star Liam Lawson, unable to fulfill his commitments to his backers should he remain stuck overseas. 

Red Bull junior Lawson, 19, has been based in Europe since February, where he's been competing in Formula Two for Hitech Grand Prix to sit eighth in the championship, as well as missing out on the title in Germany's DTM series by three points after Sunday's season finale.

His results in 2021 have caught the eye of some of the most powerful names in motorsport, earning a test drive with Formula One outfit AlphaTauri for December.

Joining the likes of Olympic medallists Hayden Wilde and Michael Venus, Lawson is looking at the possibility of having to stay put overseas, as one of tens of thousands of New Zealanders currently at the mercy of the MIQ lottery booking system.

But motorsport at any level isn't cheap, with sponsors playing a huge part in the ability for a young driver to compete and develop.

Lawson is no exception, as one of two Kiwi drivers in Formula Two, the other being Marcus Armstrong, the Pukekohe native is an attractive proposition for sponsors to get behind.

However, unable to return to New Zealand, Lawson is now facing the prospect of being unable to fulfill his sponsorship commitments.

What's more, the UK visa application process also requires Lawson to return home to New Zealand, which he's now unable to do.

"Right now, the way the MIQ spots are working, I've tried maybe four or five weeks in a row, and I've been 13,000th in the queue, or 22,000th in the queue and haven't got a spot," he tells Newshub.

"On top of that, obviously a lot of my sponsorship comes from New Zealand, I have a lot of commitments that I need to be home to see them all. For next year, it's quite an important thing.

"I'm trying to get my visa as well for next year as well, which I need to be home for to get the visa for the UK.

"In terms of the sponsorship side, it's very, very important that I come home as well."

Aside from the career implications, Lawson is also facing the reality of being stuck overseas for what's traditionally his F2 off-season.

And after moving abroad for the sake of his rising career, the reality that Lawson is a 19-year-old living on the other side of the world from his family can be lost.

"It's a bit frustrating, because I haven't been home since February, and if I don't get home, I probably won't come home until the end of 2022 - which is a lot of time away from the family," he adds.

"Personally, every year I always look forward to coming home [and] having the summer break. Whether it's for four weeks or six weeks, or eight weeks, it's definitely a big part of refreshing before the season, before going back overseas.

"This year's been the longest stint I've done away from home, normally I come home during the season. I've never been away for nearly 12 months.

"It'll be quite disappointing if I don't get to come home."