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Lawson: Herta AlphaTauri discussions 'don't change a lot' for me

AlphaTauri reserve and test driver Liam Lawson says the discussions about Colton Herta joining the Formula 1 team “doesn’t change a lot” for him.

Liam Lawson, AlphaTauri

Liam Lawson, AlphaTauri

Erik Junius

The IndyCar star was linked to a move to the Faenza-based squad after it was revealed that Pierre Gasly could replace Fernando Alonso at Alpine.

Alongside his current commitments with Andretti Autosport, Herta has a testing deal with McLaren and drove a 2021 F1 car in Portimao last month.

Lawson is currently competing in his second FIA Formula 2 season with Carlin, and undertook his maiden FP1 session at Spa with AlphaTauri

But he says the talk about Herta’s move is “just discussions" and that he will “wait to find out what is decided for me” while he focuses on F2, where he is fifth in the standings.

Speaking ahead of the Dutch Grand Prix, Lawson said: “I mean, at the moment it’s just discussions, and from my side it doesn’t change a lot for me.

“I’m still focused on delivering the best job in Formula 2 that I can and trying to finish this year I guess strongly – it hasn’t been the season we’d hoped for.

“But I guess the talk in Formula 1 at the moment is all discussion at the moment and from my side I’ll wait to find out what is decided for me, but right now it’s just focusing on Formula 2.”

Liam Lawson, AlphaTauri AT03

Liam Lawson, AlphaTauri AT03

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Lawson is the reserve and test driver for both Red Bull and AlphaTauri, having been promoted to serve both teams after Juri Vips was dropped in June.

He underwent his maiden F1 outing last weekend, having also driven for AlphaTauri during last year’s post-season Abu Dhabi young driver test.

The New Zealander said the session was a good opportunity to familiarise himself with the AT03, having previously only driven the 2021 contender.

Lawson said: “I think it was important for me to have that session.

“I knew about potentially doing it for a while this year, I’d done the test at the end of last year and obviously it was a pretty amazing experience, especially in the old car.

“It was nice to do the session and get through it, it’s over very quickly, it’s only an hour long.

“I don’t think it changes my confidence too much, I think that’s stayed the same I would say, but it was just nice to have that session to get familiar with the car because the new one is quite different from the old one.”

Asked whether taking part in the session with AlphaTauri rather than Red Bull posed less pressure to him, he added: “I don’t think so. Obviously there’s always a little bit of pressure, I was definitely a little bit nervous before the session getting in the car for the first time, I think regardless of what team I was with I would have felt that pressure.

“For me, it was quite nice, I’d done the post-season test last year with AlphaTauri so to continue working with them and do my next test and my first actual official session with them I think was quite a cool opportunity.

“I already had a good relationship with a lot of those guys so I think it was cool, I don’t think it changed too much the pressure on what I was feeling though regardless of what team I drove for.”

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