The first half of the calendar has just ended this Sunday July 31 at the Hungaroring. With 13 rounds completed out of the 22 scheduled, some teams have already taken the opportunity to make substitutions during the first free practice sessions. Since this year, each team is obliged to involve young drivers in at least two test sessions. To be considered as “young drivers”, the rookie must not have participated in more than two races of the F1 world championship during his career. So to enlighten you, here is a summary of the progress of the teams in the face of this new rule.
Mercedes: Hamilton has already left his place
The world champion team has several options to replace George Russell and Lewis Hamilton for a free practice session. At the French Grand Prix, the seven-time world champion agreed to watch the 20 single-seaters from the pit lane. It was Nyck de Vries who found himself at the wheel of the W13 at Le Castellet.
The German team still has to find another niche for these young drivers. If the Dutchman can very well be called again at the wheel of a Silver Arrow, Frederik Vesti can also claim this seat. The Danish driver is currently 6th in Formula 2 with ART Grand Prix for his first year in this championship.
Red Bull: Jüri Vips before his dismissal
On a track that the teams know by heart, the Austrian team had decided to give Jüri Vips his chance in Barcelona. Sergio Pérez had left him his seat in Spain. But the Estonian will not complete a second session at Red Bull. After his controversial exit on Twitch, the Estonian was officially fired from the Red Bull Junior Team last June.
It is therefore another driver under contract with the Austrian team who will take the place of Jüri Vips. They are several to covet this seat between the rookie Dennis Hauger and the two other Formula 2 pilots, Liam Lawson and Jehan Daruvala. However, it is unlikely to see the New Zealander with Red Bull given that he already has a session scheduled at AlphaTauri. Unless the bull brand decided to load up its agenda for the second half of the season.
Ferrari: Shwartzman on pole
For the prancing horse brand, nothing has changed since the start of the season. Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc have taken part in EL1 since the start of the season. Ferrari must therefore still plan two test sessions for one of its young drivers. With Antonio Giovinazzi and Mick Schumacher in the role of reserve driver, the Italian team will have to turn to its test drivers. The Russian, Robert Shwartzman who evolves under Israeli license meets the criteria and could then make his debut at the wheel of the F1-75.
Alpine: Piastri should start soon
At Alpine, Oscar Piastri is the natural candidate for these two free practice sessions. After winning the Formula 2 championship, the Australian must be chomping at the bit this season with the French team as a reserve driver. If he runs on the A521, the Australian will take his first real steps in Formula 1 at Spa-Francorchamps or Monza.
Unless the recent announcements of the transfer window push Alpine to review their plans and offer the possibility of riding to another talent from his academy. In Formula 2, Jack Doohan and Olli Caldwell could therefore take the place of the Australian.
McLaren: The temptation of Indycar drivers
As for Ferrari and Alpine, McLaren has not yet carried out any of its mandatory sessions with young drivers. But the Woking-based team will certainly take advantage of the American tour to run one of its many Indycar drivers. For the moment, Pato O’Ward and Colton Herta seem to be in pole position to make their first runs in Formula 1. If the Mexican took part in a test in Abu Dhabi last season with McLaren, the American driver was in Portimão last month to drive the MCL35.
Alfa Romeo: The Théo Pourchaire puzzle
For Alfa Romeo, there is no suspense. It is Théo Pourchaire who will fulfill this task during a free practice session. Now it only remains to know which one. Between the Formula 2 calendar and the return of Formula 1 to Japan and Singapore, it is difficult for the Swiss team to know when it will offer its first test to the Habs.
The Frenchman will certainly have to wait for the start of the American tour to make his debut. ” Mexico could work, Austin could work. But Pirelli will have to do the tire tests. And I think it will also depend on the weather », recalls Frédéric Vasseur, the main team.
Alfa Romeo has a different situation than the other teams on the grid. Guanyu Zhou’s first practice session in Bahrain was included in one of two sessions “ young pilots “.
Haas: Double ration for Shwartzman?
Within the American team, the natural candidate for this test reserved for a rookie is called Pietro Fittipaldi. The Brazilian occupies this season the role of reserve driver at Haas and should therefore take part in a free practice session. But Robert Shwartzman could also drive the VF-22. The Russian driver has already taken part in the Rookies Test at the end of last year in Abu Dhabi.
AlphaTauri: Liam Lawson will start in Belgium
If Jüri Vips were to make his debut with Red Bull this year, for sister team AlphaTauri, Liam Lawson will step aboard ATO3. The New Zealand driver, engaged in his second season in Formula 2, will discover Formula 1 in Belgium. ” We plan to run Liam Lawson in EL1 at Spa », explained Franz Tost in Hungary. The Red Bull Junior Team driver will still have to do another session in addition to Belgium for AlphaTauri to comply with this new rule introduced this year. Unless Liam Lawson is replaced by Jehan Daruvala to carry out this second test.
Aston Martin: Nothing on the program
For Aston Martin, it’s a bit of a blur. Many drivers can claim to occupy the seat of Sebastian Vettel or Lance Stroll during a free practice session. By not having an academy for young drivers in Formula 1, the British team should then turn to its test drivers. Nick Yelloly should therefore drive the AMR22 after having participated in 2019 and 2021 in the test for young drivers with Racing Point then Aston Martin. In any case, Mike Krack will have to find someone available for two dates before the last round of the championship.
Williams: Everything is settled
For the last team in the constructors’ championship, the two sessions have already been scheduled on the calendar. If Nyck De Vries had the opportunity to replace Alexander Albon at Barcelona, it is Logan Sargeant who will replace Nicholas Latifi at Austin. In front of his home crowd, the American will be able to make his debut in Formula 1 after his impressive first half of the season in Formula 2.
The rookie caught the eye of Sven Smeets, Williams’ sporting director: ” Logan has demonstrated a great level of ability and maturity so far this season through his accomplishments on and off the track. He achieved performances that allowed him to win races in Formula 2, while working hard during simulation sessions. It seemed only fair to reward these achievements by giving him the opportunity to participate in a free practice session in Austin. »
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