Home Featured Liam Lawson “should be in F1 this year” says long-term backer

Liam Lawson “should be in F1 this year” says long-term backer

by Roger Gascoigne

Photo: Red Bull Content Pool

Liam Lawson should be racing in Formula 1 this year, according to the man who reckons he’s “put more money into his career than Red Bull”.

“He should be in F1 this year. The fact that there wasn’t a single driver change this year doesn’t reflect well in my view on F1, because you wouldn’t see it in any other sport, would you?” asks Rodin Cars founder David Dicker rhetorically.

The New Zealand-based producer of single-seater track cars first backed Lawson for his 2021 Formula 2 campaign with Carlin, which recently became Rodin Motorsport.

After an impressive F1 debut with AlphaTauri in 2023, deputising in five races for the injured Daniel Ricciardo, Lawson is this year again serving as reserve driver for Red Bull Racing and its sister team, rebranded as RB.

“We supported him last year. He’s a nice kid. I think it’s a real shame that he’s not in a car, to be honest,” Dicker told Formula Scout in the F2 paddock.

Ollie Bearman’s sensational last-minute call up by Ferrari in Jeddah highlighted F1’s conservative driver choices, a view clearly shared by Dicker.

“How many guys on the F1 grid would be capable of winning the world championship if they were in the best car? Five or six maybe, the rest of them, not a [chance].

“I don’t understand why they don’t turn them over a bit more, because in business and everything else you would. It’s almost like, ‘Jeez, this kid’s going to be heartbroken if he’s out of a seat.’

“Man, you’ve got to perform,” he stresses.

“Obviously, we keep an eye out for guys that are coming up. Because they’ve got to have talent or they’re not going to be able to move forward. That’s cruel but that’s just the way it is.”

Louis Sharp is the next young Kiwi being “fully supported” by Rodin as he makes the step up to GB3 after his title-winning season in British Formula 4. Another Rodin-backed youngster, Australian Alex Ninovic, takes his place in the F4 squad.

Despite the focus on Antipodean drivers, Dicker says: “I’m not a massive nationalist. I’ll be honest.”

“But obviously we’re in New Zealand and with Louis, we met him, and we thought he was a nice kid and we thought we’d test him because we’ve got F3 cars at our track and he was good so we thought ‘Why not?’

“It’s expensive, but it’d be great if we could get him to F1. That’s what we’re trying to do. Whether he can do it or not I don’t know, we’ll find out this year. He’s gone well in testing so far, so it’s really just a matter how far he can go.”

Dicker is clearly passionate about developing young drivers but sees racing benefitting “the car company in the same way that it helps Ferrari, obviously on a much smaller scale.”

“We want to build racing cars in the car business and obviously if we’re going to build racing cars, we’re gonna have a factory-type team.”