Liam Lawson believes racing in Super Formula is too much of a risk for drivers looking to progress to F1 due to the lack of Super Licence points available.
In the interim, he's plying his trade in Japan where he sits second in the Super Formula championship, which races at Motegi this weekend.
It follows a two-year stint in Formula 2 where he won his debut race in 2021 before claiming four further Sprint race wins for Carlin in 2022.
“It's something that I encourage everybody to consider to do if they have the opportunity,” Lawson told Speedcafe of racing in Super Formula.
“Unfortunately it's difficult with Super Licence points, you're sort of forced to do Formula 3 and Formula 2 and basically get your Super Licence through those championships because there's not enough points on offer anywhere else.
“Going to Super Formula without a Super Licence is too much of a risk.
“Fortunately for me, because I have one, that means I can go there without the pressure of having to finish in a certain position to earn the licence.”
Drivers must hold a Super Licence in order to compete in F1 with a number of criteria needing to be met.
Chief among them is accruing points through recognised competitions, with 40 points needed across the previous three seasons.
A top-three finish in Formula 2 is worth 40 points, as is victory in the IndyCar Series, while the Formula 3, Formula E, and World Endurance (Hypercar) championships are all worth 30.
Super Formula, however, is worth a maximum of 25 points and, as a result, the competition is not on the preferred pathway to the sport's pinnacle.
That's despite the cars offering performance more similar to that in F1, among other advantages over spec-categories like F2.
“I've been saying for probably since the last time we spoke that, eventually if I get the opportunity to go to F1, I'd like to be in the best possible position,” Lawson said.
“And doing this year is definitely helping that.”
Red Bull made the call for Lawson to race in Japan following his stint in F2 late last year.
It's seen him jetting back and forth to fulfill his responsibilities both behind the wheel but also as reserve driver for Red Bull and Scuderia AlphaTauri.
Originally, the workload was eased as he shared the job with Daniel Ricciardo, though with the Australian's move into a race drive, Lawson is now operating solo.
“A lot of travelling now,” Lawson noted of his duties.
“I was always sort of sharing the reserve role with Daniel a bit. Now that he's driving we go to all the races, basically.
“It's definitely a lot of travelling but it's been okay,” he added.
“So far, the travel to Japan is quite rough. I normally get there a couple of days early – jetlag. When you get in a routine, it's not so bad.”
While Lawson has not yet had an official F1 outing in 2023 (he was a body double for Daniel Ricciardo in a 2011-spec RB7 earlier this year as Red Bull filmed in Australia), he's almost certain to complete at least one free practice session as the sport resumes following the summer break.
Rules remain that teams must make each of their cars available to a rookie driver for opening practice once during the course of the season.
There are limited opportunities for that to happen, with three of the remaining 10 events Sprint weekends (Qatar, United States, Sao Paulo), which takes them out of consideration.
The final race of the season in Abu Dhabi is a likely opportunity, as is Mexico City three events prior – though that clashes with the final round of the Super Formula season.
An outing at the Italian Grand Prix in early September is, therefore, most likely for the New Zealander.