This weekend will see former Toyota Racing Series champion and aspiring Formula 1 star Liam Lawson kick off his second FIA Formula 3 campaign, one the young kiwi believes could be his toughest challenge yet.
Lawson inked a deal with British outfit Hitech GP late last year but has since had the start to his season disrupted as the global pandemic caused all world motorsport to be suspended.
Consequently, the 31-strong F3 grid has also suffered a three-month hiatus away from the race track and will only have a sole 40-minute practice session in Austria this weekend to get back up to speed; a predicament Lawson admits will be an initially difficult hurdle to overcome.
“None of us have been in a car for a long a very long time,” Lawson told the official F3 website. “We haven’t raced in a very long time and we will have just 40-minutes to learn everything and then go straight into Quali, so it is going to be pretty tough.
“I am hoping it won’t take too long to [get back up to speed], but it is hard to say. No matter how much training you do there is nothing like actually driving, so I think physically it will be tough to get back in again.
“In terms of the preparation we’ve done, I don’t think there is anything more that we can do. We’ve got just as much chance as anybody really.”
Last season Lawson debuted in the category with MP Motorsport, scoring podium finishes at Silverstone and Monza on his way to 11th in the standings.
The same season saw Hitech clinch second in the Teams Championship and their pre-season performance back in February hints the squad will once again be challenging up the front of the grid.
With more silverware expected from him in 2020 in his first true title fight, Lawson acknowledged the importance of his sophomore season in ensuring he can break onto the Formula 1 scene in the near future.
“Obviously without sharing too much – I think in any championship you need a lot of luck and you need a lot of things to go your way,” he added. “But you have to be consistent across the whole season and finish with as many points as you can.
“There is quite a big drop from first to second in points, so it is an advantage winning races for sure, and that is what we will be going for. But at the end of the day, we do want to win this championship and I think the best way to do that is to be smart and to know when to take risks and when not too. I think that will be the biggest balance to manage throughout the season.
“For sure it helps having a year of F3 behind me, mostly for the experience of learning what to do and what not to do with these tyres. But I think that a lot of the rookies have actually jumped straight in with very good teams, with good teammates, so I don’t think the learning process for them will take too long.”
Lawson will have two races this weekend from Spielberg with practice to be staged on Friday before a sole 30-minute qualifying session the following day.
The opening F3 race for 2020 is slated to begin from 12.25 am NZT Sunday morning.