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These rookie drivers could get a chance in an F1 training session this year

These rookie drivers could get a chance in an F1 training session this year

20 May - 18:00


A new addition to the Formula 1 regulations for 2022 is the rule that mandates the use of rookie drivers on at least two occasions in the first free practice session. During FP1 in Spain we saw Nyck de Vries and Juri Vips in action, but which other drivers have a chance to participate in such a session?

F1 teams required to use rookies in free practice

A rookie driver is defined as someone who has not participated in more than two Formula 1 races during his career. So a reserve driver who fills in for someone once or twice can also be used.

Which drivers will be able to come into action during training this season? We list the junior drivers who have at least a super license for the first free practice and the teams to which they are linked.
You can read all about what is involved in obtaining a super license here.

Red Bull

Red Bull Racing has the largest number of drivers currently eligible to participate in free practice, thanks to the team's extensive talent program. On Friday we saw Juri Vips complete his first free practice in the RB18, but there are therefore more drivers the Austrian racing stable can call upon.

Participation in six Formula 2 races is enough to qualify for a Friday license, which means Liam Lawson could also get the chance this year. Dennis Hauger and Jehan Daruvala also meet that requirement, but they have not yet completed the required 300 kilometers in a Formula One car. Vips and Lawson both did so during the Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi last year.


Robert Shwartzman is the biggest contender to participate in a free practice session on behalf of Ferrari. After two successful seasons in Formula 2, Ferrari put him in during the Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi, after which he became the team's official test driver.

Callum Ilott is also eligible in principle, but he is taking a year break from the Ferrari Driver Academy to race in IndyCar. Shwartzman is therefore the most obvious candidate, all the more so because he has not participated in a free practice session so far even in his role as test driver.


It is obvious that Nyck de Vries will also be used by Mercedes itself during the mandatory practice sessions. The team also has Formula 2 driver Frederik Vesti in its ranks, but the Dane will first have to cover the mandatory 300 kilometers in a Formula 1 car to qualify for a super license.


McLaren is more or less reliant on IndyCar driver Pato O'Ward, who is also linked to the Formula One team through Arrow McLaren SP. The Mexican made his debut in the Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi and is thus eligible for a Friday license.


Oscar Piastri should have already had a Formula One seat, according to many, but there simply was no room for the Formula Two champion. For now, the Australian racing talent must settle for a role as a reserve driver for Alpine, but it is fully expected that he will be deployed by the team during both mandatory free practice sessions.


As Red Bull's sister team, both teams have access to the same group of drivers, so it is likely that Vips and Lawson will be in action on behalf of the teams. Since Lawson took the Young Driver test on behalf of AlphaTauri, it is likely that he will also be used by that team in at least one free practice session.

Alfa Romeo

For Alfa Romeo, the choice may also already have been made in the form of Theo Pourchaire. The still only 18-year old talent scored highly in his debut season in Formula 3, where he finished second. He is also doing well in Formula 2: with two wins this season he is currently leading the championship.


Williams has quite a list to choose from with Jack Aitken as reserve driver and Roy Nissany as test driver. In addition, the team also has Logan Sargeant, the latest addition to Williams' talent program.

All three drivers have already clocked up the necessary miles in an F1 car and could therefore be used in a free practice session. This makes the choice to use De Vries during one of the two compulsory sessions all the more remarkable. Perhaps Williams will also lend one of its rookie drivers to Mercedes?


Haas has a strong candidate with Pietro Fittipaldi, who is just barely eligible after starting the last two races of 2020 as a replacement for the injured Romain Grosjean. However, Shwartzman is also a possibility, given the team's close ties with engine supplier Ferrari.

Aston Martin

Aston Martin has no talent program and therefore no rookie driver eligible to participate in a free practice session. Nick Yelloly drove in the Abu Dhabi test as part of his role as simulator driver, but he does not have enough points for a Friday license. The Silverstone-based team will therefore have to find a driver via another route

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