The Formula 1 Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi is allowing rookies to participate in the first free practice sessions in accordance with FIA guidelines, with many new names replacing regular drivers like Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.
‣ The Formula 1 circus has arrived in Abu Dhabi for the last Grand Prix of the season, and many teams are allowing rookies to sit in the cars for the first free practice session to comply with FIA guidelines.
‣ The ten teams in the premier motorsport class must give a rookie two first free practice sessions every year, a rule created to reduce the step from Formula 2 to F1 and promote the flow of talent.
‣ The Abu Dhabi circuit is well known to all teams, making it a good time to put rookies to work as there is enough data from this track and two free practice sessions are enough for the drivers to prepare for the weekend’s races.
‣ During the first free practice session, many new names will be seen, with notable drivers like Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton, and Sergio Perez giving up their seats to rookies.
The Formula 1 circus has rolled into Abu Dhabi. This event traditionally signifies the last Grand Prix of the season.
For the final time in 2023, we’re having a first free practice session. This is why many teams are letting rookies take the wheel this morning. They’re doing this to meet FIA guidelines. Keep up with all the action through this liveblog.
The premier motorsport class, consisting of ten teams, has a rule. Each team must give a rookie two first free practice sessions every year. A rookie, in this context, is a driver with a maximum of two Formula 1 races under their belt. This rule aims to bridge the gap from Formula 2 to F1, fostering the flow of fresh talent.
The Abu Dhabi circuit is familiar territory for all teams. It’s an ideal time to let the rookies have a go. There’s plenty of data from this track. Plus, two free practice sessions should be enough for the drivers to gear up for Saturday’s qualifying and Sunday’s race in the desert. But remember, FP1 is the least representative as it happens before sunset. The qualifying and the Grand Prix? They’ll be under floodlights.
During FP1, expect to see many new names. No Max Verstappen. No Lewis Hamilton. Even Sergio Perez is giving up his seat at Red Bull Racing. Instead, Isack Hadjar and Jake Dennis will be in the RB19. Frederik Vesti will be in Hamilton’s W14. Over at Ferrari, Robert Shwartzman is stepping in for Charles Leclerc for an hour. Meanwhile, at McLaren, Lando Norris can watch Pato O’Ward’s actions from the pit box.
Curious about the other rookies? Stay tuned to see who else will be in action for the other teams.