Meet New Zealand’s next motorsport star: Humble 16-year-old Liam Lawson

Sixteen-year-old race driver Liam Lawson is currently plying his trade in the German Formula Four championship.

The Kiwi from Pukekohe sits in second place overall, calling it an eye-opening experience - from the fantatical fans to the high level of competition.

Even on holiday, Lawson is keeping his foot down thanks to a simulator he likes to call 'homework'.

"I used to do a lot of sim stuff just for fun but now it's really become something that we use as preparation for a race."

When it comes to racing on the track, the teenager is making a name for himself in the German competition.

He's finished on the podium in eight of the 12 races so far, winning two of them.

He’s says it’s a sensation like no other.

"It's like Formula One. We go up on the podium and we have the national anthem played, our flag gets held above us so it's a proud moment."

The competition is a training ground for the best; F1 legend Michael Schumacher's nephew competes and two current F1 drivers came through Lawson's team, Van Amersfoort racing.

Lawson said the fan support is huge.

"I had a German lady come up to me and she called me over and got out this book like this folder and pulled out like 30 photos that she'd printed out from when I was in go karts and NZ and Australian racing - basically everything I've done!"

But the Kiwi driver's life is a constant juggle.

Competing not only requires talent but hundreds of thousands of dollars and while some drivers show up to races in private jets, Lawson relies on generous sponsors.

"There are many more Kiwi drivers just like me that need the opportunity that I've been given to do something like this so I've just really got to make the most of it."

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


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Brendon Hartley shaking off rumours of possible F1 axing - 'I just stay focused on the job I get paid to do'

Kiwi driver Brendon Hartley isn't worried about the rumours circulating about his future in Formula 1, saying he's eager to make his mark at the upcoming French Grand Prix.

Hartley took time in his regular F1 video blog to address the issue.

"There was a bit of noise in the background over the last couple of weeks," he said.

"I was asked a few awkward questions about my future in Formula 1. It was a bit annoying but that's part of the business and I actually felt really good about how I handled the whole situation. I didn't let it affect me and I just stayed focused on doing the job that I get paid to do."

Hartley has struggled in his first full F1 season, earning just one championship point in seven starts in 2018.

As a result, pressure has been building on the 28-year-old with Red Bull Racing consultant Dr Helmut Marko confirming earlier this week Toro Rosso had had thoughts about dropping the Kiwi.

"If the trajectory had not improved, then we would have had to look somewhere for an alternative," he said.

"But that's not the case and Brendon is now competitive."

Hartley said he's gaining confidence from that newfound competitiveness.

"Every weekend I feel like I'm getting stronger and stronger," he said.

"You know, I'm an old fella in some ways but I'm a rookie in Formula 1 and as the weekends go by I feel I'm understanding more and more the business of Formula 1."

Hartley is set to compete in the French Grand Prix this weekend, with qualifying starting at 2am NZT on Sunday.


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Brendon Hartley's F1 team confirm they were ready to axe Kiwi driver

Brendon Hartley's Formula 1 team have confirmed rumours surrounding the possible axing of the Kiwi driver were true for a time.

Red Bull Racing consultant Dr Helmut Marko told German motorsport website Motorsport Magazin Hartley's future at Toro Rosso was in jeopardy after the Kiwi had only earned one championship point after seven races so far this season.

"If the trajectory had not improved, then we would have had to look somewhere for an alternative," he said.

"But that's not the case and Brendon is now competitive."

Hartley had shown improvements at the last Grand Prix in Canada where he qualified 12th for the race before being the victim in another unfortunate accident which ended his race just five turns into the first lap.

Hartley is set to compete in the French Grand Prix this weekend, with qualifying starting at 2am NZT on Sunday.


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