Liam Lawson will drive a Formula 1 car for the first time this weekend when he gets behind the wheel of Sebastian Vettel’s 2011 title-winning RB7 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
The annual Hillclimb event held in the UK brings out an array of classic and contemporary race cars, including a healthy dose of F1 machinery.
Lawson is currently in his rookie Formula 2 season. The Red Bull Junior driver is one step shy of a full-time gig in the premier category.
The RB7 was one of F1’s most dominant cars.
Vettel comfortably won his second career crown in the car, which only failed to finish in the top five twice and won 12 of 19 races that season.
All of this unfolded in the eyes of a 9-year-old Lawson.
“I remember sitting on the couch with dad watching Sebastien win all those races and now I get to drive this car,” Lawson said.
“It’s really special.”
While the Festival of Speed does have a competitive element, it is primarily a showcase event.
It means Lawson won’t be taking the RB7 to the edge, but expect a bit of burning rubber once the car fires up.
“Driving it is going to be an eye-opener.
“I know it’s just a show run so we won’t be pushing any limits on the run, but I’ll definitely give a few burnouts a go.”
The opportunity to drive Vettel’s ex-F1 car came as a complete shock for Lawson. And how he found out was equally surprising.
“I was in the hairdressers getting my hair cut and got an email from Red Bull,” he said.
“I opened it and saw they wanted me in the car, and honestly, I couldn’t believe what I was reading.
“I went with one of the staff from the Red Bull factory into a building I hadn’t been in before.
“I walked past more than 30 of their cars that had raced over the last ten years. Then eventually up to the RB7 that had a couple of mechanics working on it.
“I was looking all over it and then very quickly realised they had already put my name on the car. When I saw that it hit pretty hard that’s for sure.”
Lawson will also drive his Ferrari 488 GT3 DTM car up the 1.86km circuit.
“I will drive Friday and Saturday doing two runs each day. I will also be driving my DTM car so I will get four runs a day.”
The Goodwood Festival of Speed wasn’t held last year due to Covid-19 restrictions but returns this year, sold out, with a smaller crowd expected than the usual 150,000 daily spectators.