Kiwi driver Liam Lawson is unlikely to get back on the track in a Formula 1 car soon.
The 20-year-old impressed with Scuderia AlphaTauri during testing late in 2021, posting the second-fastest lap time of all rookie drivers.
Early in 2022, he was named as the rookie practice driver for AlphaTauri – Red Bull's sister team - to fill their two mandated young driver practice sessions this season, however Lawson knows those opportunities aren't likely to come this early in the season.
While Williams Racing have confirmed rookie Nyck de Vries will race in Saturday's practice session ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona, it's not an option most teams are willing to risk this early in the season.
In just the seventh of 22 races on the calendar, most teams and drivers are still looking at how to get the best performance on the track, and having the regular F1 drivers behind the wheel is vital for that process.
As such, Lawson doesn't expect to get the call for one of AlphaTauri's mandated young driver sessions any time soon.
"Towards the end of the year, potentially, that's the plan," Lawson told Gold AM's Country Sport Breakfast of when he expects to get the nod. "But in terms of dates and things like that, I have no idea yet."
Lawson will be back in action in Barcelona this weekend in Formula 2, looking to bounce back from some disappointing outings.
The Carlin racing driver made a fine start to the year, picking up 34 points in the first three races – finishing third (sprint) and second (feature) in Sakhir, Bahrain, before winning the sprint race in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
However, he has had some issues since then. He was forced out of the feature race in Saudi Arabia after a pitstop gone wrong, and could only secure eighth place in the sprint race at Imola in Italy before a steering problem saw him crash out of the feature race.
"Imola was pretty frustrating. Another weekend where the speed was really good, but obviously little things like that are out of our control, but still not ideal. They're things we ideally need to get on top of – not that there was a lot we could have done.
"It's still promising with how things have gone this year. I'm excited for Barcelona and for Monaco on back-to-back weekends."
Still early in the season, Lawson sits fourth in the standings on 35 points. Fellow Kiwi driver Marcus Armstrong (Hitech Grand Prix) sits five points back in seventh. Frenchman Theo Pourchaire leads the way on 52 points – with 50 of those coming from winning two of the three feature races so far this year – but just six points separates third and eighth place on the ladder.
With three events over the next four weeks, Lawson expected a clearer picture to form as to which teams were finding the most pace and which drivers were getting the consistent results.
That all starts in Barcelona this weekend; a track that every driver will be familiar with.
"It's a good circuit. It's definitely not my favourite, but it's one we've all done a lot of laps on so the teams will be quite close; the drivers as well. As drivers, Barcelona is the most tested track that we go to.
"I'd say it will start to settle down over the next couple of rounds, but it's still very much up in the air. The results are still very inconsistent for different teams and drivers. There's a very long way to go."