RACING

Drivers set to make F1 weekend debut in 2022

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While the focus ahead of the 2022 F1 season was on changes to the technical regulations, another new rule has come into effect which will impact several teams in the second half of the campaign.

The rule states that teams must field a rookie driver – defined as starting two Grands Prix or less – in two free practice sessions in the year.

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On some occasions it is a junior driver, as was the case for Red Bull when they gave the RB18 to Juri Vips for FP1 at the Spanish Grand Prix.

This is not always the case, however. Nyck de Vries – 2021 Formula E world champion and current Mercedes reserve driver – has twice competed in a session in 2022, first for Williams and then with the Silver Arrows.

The Dutchman looks set to drive in another hour of training with Mercedes before the end of the season.

Which pilots are not yet in action?

Like Mercedes, Red Bull will have yet to run a rookie driver for the second time in 2022. For the Milton Keynes-based team, that driver will be Liam Lawson, who is also expected to take the wheel for AlphaTauri.

Ferrari goes with Robert Shwartzman. The Russian driver – who is racing under the Israeli flag this season – will take his place in the F1-75 for a free practice session. He is also a test and reserve driver for the Italian team.

At Williams, Formula 2 star Logan Sargeant has been confirmed to drive the FW44 in his home United States Grand Prix race weekend.

© XPBimages

Uncertainty about the other teams

For some teams on the grid, their plans for which rookie driver will take part in an FP1 session are not so clear.

At Alfa Romeo, boss Fred Vasseur has hinted that the team is trying to find an opportunity for young driver Theo Pourchaire to take the wheel.

Behind the scenes, however, Pourchaire is yet to have a contract with the team for 2023, so it may be seen as a shame to give someone a chance to gain F1 experience when their future is dim. uncertain. However, there doesn’t seem to be any other option.

There are big question marks at Aston Martin. The British team has no junior drivers, which means that – due to the Mercedes engine in the back of the car – de Vries could be a candidate again, but nothing is certain yet.

Also, at Haas, there has been no announcement so far on who will drive the car, but chances are it will be test and reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi.

Although he has already contested two Grands Prix when he replaced injured Haas driver Romain Grosjean at the end of 2020, he still qualifies for the bucket seat.

The Alpine/McLaren problem

As for McLaren and Alpine, a much-discussed situation is unfolding between the two teams regarding Oscar Piastri’s services for 2023.

Piastri – who is currently Alpine’s test and reserve driver – looked set to take part in FP1 sessions for the French team in 2022 but, given the wider situation, the team may now be more reluctant to do it.

However, if it is in his contract, a solution will have to be found with McLaren. The Woking-based team will most likely want Piastri in their car for two free practice sessions, but IndyCar drivers Colton Herta and Pato O’Ward are also eager to sit down.

Both have already completed private testing to prepare for a possible FP1 outing.

Alpine may still be able to count on junior driver Jack Doohan, who is currently racing in Formula 2. The Australian seems to be the logical second choice if Piastri is finally overtaken.

Check out an overview of the FP1 driver/team plans below:

Crew Drivers) Confirmed/Unconfirmed

mercedes

DeVries

Confirmed

Red Bull

Vips, Lawson

Confirmed

Ferrari

Chwartzman

Confirmed

Alpha Tauri

Lawson

Confirmed

williams

DeVries, Sergeant

Confirmed

McLaren

Piastri, Herta, O’Ward?

Not confirmed

Alpine

Piastri, Doohan?

Not confirmed

Alfa Romeo

Chase?

Not confirmed

Aston Martin

DeVries?

Not confirmed

Haas

Fittipaldi?

Not confirmed

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