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Kiwi teen Liam Lawson signs on as Red Bull Racing junior driver

Teenager Liam Lawson has had quite a fortnight. He won the Toyota Racing Series and the New Zealand Grand Prix, celebrated his 17th birthday and now he's signed a contract to become a Red Bull Racing junior driver.

"I've dreamed of this since I was a kid. Out of all the Formula One teams, I've always loved Red Bull," he says.

The offer came from team principal Helmut Marko, who tracked down Lawson's manager Grant McDonald and called him from the other side of the world.

When Liam was given the news, the composure he shows behind the wheel went right out the window.

"It was kind of one of those moments where you don't realise it's actually happening and I got up and said I've got to go for a walk - I couldn't walk properly."

"I was really having to think about walking, which is something that's really normal," he joked.

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Lawson is plying his trade in the German Formula 4 where he currently sits second overall. Source: 1 NEWS

The deal was announced in Europe this evening, but Lawson signed the contract last week on his 17th birthday. Following his impressive results in the Toyota Racing Series, there was extensive interest from around the world.

Grant Baker is the chairman of the Liam Lawson Supporters Limited Partnership, revealing the huge interest from teams wanting to snap up the Kiwi teen.

"We had approaches from 18 or 19 teams but of those, four really good proposals that were directly Formula One teams or associated quite closely with Formula One teams," Baker told 1 NEWS.

The Red Bull one had the most direct connection to Formula One.

Lawson will be one of nine contracted junior drivers for Red Bull. Four-time Formula One World Champion Sebastian Vettel and fellow top drivers Max Verstappen and Daniel Riccaiardo came through the junior ranks.

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Liam Lawson, Marcus Armstrong and Brendon Leitch will compete in this weekend's racing event in Cromwell. Source: 1 NEWS

Kiwi driver Brendon Hartley was signed as a 15-year-old by Red Bull and he's agreed to mentor the programme's latest signing. The contract is for five years but it's completely performance based.

"If you are not good enough, or you don't work hard enough or your behaviour or something is not up to it then they'll drop you," says Lawson. "So you have to be on top of it all the time."

The Pukekohe teenager will head to the UK next month. He'll compete in the Formula European Masters for 2019.

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The 17-year-old will be mentored by fellow Kiwi Brendon Hartley. Source: Breakfast


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