The Rookie Drivers F1 Teams Have Used For FP1 Sessions This Year

At the start of 2022, the FIA approved a change to the sporting regulations that would help talented young drivers get behind the wheel of an F1 car. During two FP1 sessions this season, every team on the grid has to run a rookie.

Unfortunately, it’s not open to everyone – we can’t just jump into an F1 car tomorrow. To be qualified for this opportunity, the rookie driver can’t have taken part in more than two grand prix events and will have to have enough Super Licence points. 

Despite this being a mandatory regulation, many teams on the grid still haven’t fulfilled their obligation nor shared the details of who they have lined up, and there are only eight races left!

Here’s what we know and how many teams have completed their FP1 rookie sessions so far.

TWO MANDATORY SESSIONS LEFT 

Red Bull currently has the largest pool of junior drivers to choose from, but it was speculated that Liam Lawson was the favourite to be handed an outing. However, that was until he had to step up and replace an injured Daniel Ricciardo at AlphaTauri. Now, he’s officially taken part in two grand prix weekends and is likely to exceed that, which isn’t allowed.

Another strong option could be Ayumu Iwasa, who has been battling for the F2 title this year.

ONE MANDATORY SESSION LEFT 

Driver: Fredrik Vesti
Event:
Mexican Grand Prix 
Replacing:
TBC

Vesti got his first taste of an F1 car at the end-of-season young driver test in Abu Dhabi last year and will be behind the wheel of the W14 for the first time in Mexico. Mercedes are yet to confirm whether he’ll do another session later this year or if they’ll put someone else in.

ONE MANDATORY SESSION LEFT 

Driver: Robert Shwartzman 
Event:
 Dutch Grand Prix
Replaced: Carlos Sainz

Robert Shwartzman has already completed one FP1 session, but it’s expected that he’ll do another one for Ferrari, most likely in Abu Dhabi in Charles Leclerc’s car.

ONE MANDATORY SESSION LEFT

This could be a bit awkward. An FP1 session probably would have gone to reserve driver Alex Palou. However, tensions boiled over when Palou, who was said to have signed a contract with McLaren’s IndyCar team for 2024, announced he had no intention of joining the team despite already taking some money.

Since then, it’s widely reported that Pato O’Ward will take it on instead. Since Oscar Piastri is a rookie, his first FP1 outing in Bahrain counts towards the two mandatory rookie sessions.

ONE MANDATORY SESSION LEFT 

Driver: Felipe Drugovich 
Event: Italian GP
Replaced:
Lance Stroll

Drugovich will most likely participate in another FP1 session for the team this season, but nothing is confirmed. Felipe had stood in for Stroll during pre-season testing in Bahrain and in FP1 at Monza.

TWO MANDATORY SESSIONS LEFT 

After already making FP1 appearances at the end of the 2022 season, Jack Doohan is the favourite to take them on again this year. Whilst the F2 title is out of the question for Doohan, he is still one of Alpine’s leading academy drivers. But Victor Martins, another one of Alpine’s drivers, isn’t too far behind him, so the pair could split the rookie duties this season.

ONE MANDATORY SESSION LEFT 

Williams started the season with a rookie, so only has one more FP1 session to fulfil. With no Williams Academy drivers currently competing in F2, it’s difficult to say who they will choose. Though nothing is confirmed, they could be tempted to steal Fredrik Vesti from Mercedes for an FP1 outing. At the same time,  they do have an extensive F3 line-up.

Another option could be Jamie Chadwick, who has just finished her season in Indy NXT.

TWO MANDATORY SESSIONS LEFT 

Nothing is confirmed, but as part of the Sauber Junior programme and currently leading the F2 championship with one race to go, Theo Pourchaire will most likely be handed the rookie sessions with Alfa Romeo this year. He’ll be eager to prove his F1 readiness as he targets a full-time drive in 2024.

TWO MANDATORY SESSIONS LEFT 

Haas has not fulfilled any rookie duties, and nothing has been announced. However, Pietro Fittipaldi has been the team’s test and reserve driver for several seasons now and will most likely fulfil the FP1 requirements later this year. He has two races under his belt after subbing in for Romain Grosjean, thus he still qualifies for the rookie sessions.

ONE MANDATORY SESSION LEFT 

Again, nothing announced! They only need to fulfil one mandatory session due to Nyck de Vries starting the season off in Bahrain this year. Much like Red Bull, they have an extensive driver pool – the same driver pool – to choose from. We’ll have to wait and see!

Who would you like to see get a chance? Let us know in the comments below.

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