These drivers have a chance of making their F1 debut in 2022 under the new rule

15-10-2021 09:10 | Updated: 15-10-2021 12:03
F1 News
These drivers have a chance of making their F1 debut in 2022 under the new rule

In 2022, Formula 1 teams are obliged to use a 'rookie' for free practice. F1 hasn't completely decided on the rules yet, but we haven taken a look at which drivers are on the shortlist to make a debut in Formula 1.

Free practice with a rookie

Ross Brawn has confirmed that by 2022, F1 wants rookies to get the chance to test with Formula 1 teams. Now, these drivers often have to make do with a place as a simulator for the team, or as a reserve driver, but now more should be possible for them during the race weekends. The question is, how this will be achieved.

During the 2020 Young Driver Test, teams took a run at Formula 1's 'rookie rules'. For example, Robert Kubica and Fernando Alonso sat in the car as 'rookies' because they hadn't competed in a race for several years. These kinds of tricks should be avoided in 2022.

For some teams it will be very easy to find such a junior for their team. Ferrari, Alpine and Red Bull Racing have an extensive junior program which they can use. For Aston Martin and McLaren this will be a lot harder.


With Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries, Mercedes have two reserve drivers on the bench this year. Vandoorne has already had seasons in F1 though, so he shouldn't really count as a 'rookie'. De Vries has not yet made his F1 debut and could therefore be deployed by Mercedes, provided an age limit is not set. At 27 years of age at the start of the season, Nyck is no longer the youngest. Mercedes doesn't have a strong junior program anymore though. Frederik Vesti is the highest ranked Mercedes junior. He came fourth in the 2021 Formula 3 Championship.

Red Bull Racing & AlphaTauri

Red Bull have a luxury position with the number of talents they can choose from for Red Bull Racing and AlphaTauri. Dennis Hauger is the team's newest Formula 3 champion and they also have access to Formula 2 drivers Juri Vips, Liam Lawson and Jehan Daruvala. Especially Vips and Lawson are in good shape at Red Bull.


McLaren has no junior program (only the 13-year-old American Ugo Ugochukwu) and uses Vandoorne and De Vries as reserve drivers. With De Vries possibly already needed for Mercedes, McLaren must therefore look for another talent. McLaren could choose a good scoring F2- or F3-driver, but in the past Sergio Sette Camara and Nobuharu Matsushita drove for the McLaren training program. They never drove in F1, however, and could therefore still count as rookies.

Aston Martin

Aston Martin has Nico Hulkenberg under contract as a reserve driver, but with his 180 races he will not qualify as a rookie. The British team doesn't have a junior program to support it either, so Aston Martin will have to take a good look around in the entry classes.


Alpine is in a luxurious position for next year, with Guanyu Zhou and Oscar Piastri both still in with a chance of winning a seat at Alfa Romeo. Alpine itself does not have a seat anymore, but for the talent that missed out on the seat for 2022, there is a place as a driver during practice. Besides this duo, Alpine also has Christian Lundgaard, Caio Collet and Victor Martins under contract.


Ferrari will also have little difficulty in selecting juniors for these tests. Although less than in recent years, Marcus Armstrong, Callum Ilott (not likely with his move to IndyCar), Robert Shartzman and Arthur Leclerc are all ready to fill this role. With customer team Haas there also seems to be a possibility to stable a talent there as well.


With the Ferrari tyres, Haas could choose to give a Ferrari junior the chance in Formula 1, but for years there have been complaints about the lack of an American F1 driver. So if there is a chance to test American talent, this would be the unique opportunity for Haas to try it.

Alfa Romeo

Although Alfa Romeo has a close partnership with Ferrari it is unlikely that they will take a talent from Ferrari. With Theo Pourchaire, Sauber's team has a great talent at their disposal. The Frenchman is considered a bit too young to drive in F1 already in 2022, but a second year in F2 combined with some tests in F1 would of course be perfect.


Williams currently has three reserve drivers under contract. Jack Aitken is the regular reserve driver and an experienced one in the entry level classes. Roy Nissany is also on the list, but that is mainly because of his bag of money. Williams could pull a stunt though, as they also have a woman in their programme in Jamie Chadwick. Should the W Series champion get a chance, this would be the first time in a long time that a woman has been in F1.

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