Formula 2-bound Liam Lawson says winning is his primary objective in his debut season, despite his lack of experience in the series.
Lawson graduates to the second-tier category with Hitech GP, the same team he raced for in last year’s Formula 3 campaign.
One of the most highly-rated youngsters confirmed on the 2021 F2 grid, the 18-year-old says his aim for the year is to push for race wins and ultimately have a competitive shot at the championship.
“The one thing I get from Red Bull is that I need to win, and the more I do that, the more I keep progressing up,” Lawson said in an interview with Newstalk ZB.
“The expectation this year is hard to say at the moment. I think we had a strong test at the end of 2020 and we have another test in just over a month, and after that, we will find out more or less where we are.
“But the goal this year is definitely race wins and the championship is what we are pushing for.”
Detailing with the changes he will experience switching from F3 to F2, Lawson revealed how challenging the larger, more powerful F2 cars are to drive.
“Overall lap time is not a huge amount, but the [F2 car] achieves it in a completely different way. So, the way you drive the car is different.
“The cars are also a lot bigger. It is hard to tell on TV, but the F2 cars are like twice the size of the F3 cars. They are really long and weigh more, and you feel all the weight through the steering.”
After last year’s F2 season, a big discussion topic was the introduction of the larger 18-inch rim size.
Several drivers, including fellow Kiwi Marcus Armstrong, complained of a limited grip window coupled with excessive overheating.
Lawson admits the challenge of the new rim size will be something he will quickly have to overcome. Still, he says they are even more difficult aspects he needs to get atop of for maximum performance.
“The 18-inch rims on the F2 car are a lot bigger than on the F3 car. When you are going through a fast corner the kickback in the wheel, because we have no power steering, is fighting against you quite a lot.
“The strength you need for an F2 car is more than what you need to drive a Formula 1 car because F1 cars have power steering.
“The power is a lot more than in F3. We go from about 400hp to nearly 700hp, and it is turbocharged, so the way the power delivers is a lot different – it is really, really aggressive.
“The F1 cars also have Carbone brakes, which I have never experienced. So, the braking is savage.
“In fact, the first time I went to use the brakes my head just dropped. I couldn’t even see the corner, so that was something I wasnt quite compared for.”
A change to the sporting regulations for 2021 sees F2 and F3 no longer sharing race weekends.
Both categories will now have three races per round over the usual two, and more seat time has him excited.
“Having three races a weekend is quite a lot better.
“Normally we spend a lot of our time on F1 weekends sitting around because we only have the two races. We probably only drove the F3 car four times over each weekend.
“I also really enjoy being in on the action and overtaking people. So, having the two reverse grid races will be good because they are a strong point for us.
“But the feature races have been something we struggled a bit with last year and will be the focus of improving this year.”
The first F2 round of the year will be at Bahrain on March 27-28.