Rookies in F1 training? Plan for 2022 is one step closer


What is F1’s plan?

From the 2022 Formula 1 season, the organization would like to have two free practice sessions per season at each team by a rookie. A rookie is formally a driver who has a maximum of two Grands Prix to his name. The idea should make it considerably easier for talents from Formula 2, Formula 3 or even IndyCar to smell the premier class.

By limiting the testing possibilities (to cut costs), this has become increasingly difficult. For example, older cars can still be taken from the stable – although that also comes with a price – but the testing of newer weaponry is limited to only two film days a year of 100 kilometers on demo tires. Because many teams already use one of those film days before the start of the season, especially under this year’s new regulations, there is almost nothing left for young talents after the annual rookie test.

It is exactly this that has made the FIA ​​and Formula 1 think and exactly this has led to the plan to use rookies more often in free practice. To make it less non-committal than in the current situation, it is mandatory for teams to use a rookie for at least two sessions per year. Which race weekends it concerns, remains free to choose. In addition, the first training sessions of the weekends with a sprint race will be dropped and the regular drivers usually do not want to give up their seats on street circuits, where gaining confidence is crucial.

Which rookies do F1 teams have up their sleeve?

Almost every Formula 1 team has talents from their own training who are eager to get in. Red Bull, for example, has Jüri Vips on hand and sister team AlphaTauri can choose from Formula 3 champion Dennis Hauger or the 2021 DTM Relevance Liam Lawson. At Mercedes, the situation is slightly different. There, the talents from their own training program are significantly younger and Nyck de Vries – provided it does not clash with Formula E – seems the right man to get in.

Ferrari can count on Robert Shwartzman, who has been named reserve driver for this season along with Mick Schumacher. The Russian can also play for Haas’ customer team, although that formation can still use Pietro Fittipaldi. Although the Brazilian drove two Grands Prix at the end of 2020 as a replacement for Romain Grosjean, he is still just within the allowable limit.

It’s no secret at McLaren that they like Pato O’Ward to make more F1 meters – which could be done perfectly in Austin and Mexico City – while at Alpine, Alfa Romeo and Williams there is little to no doubt. The former team can count on top talent Oscar Piastri, Alfa on growth brilliance Theo Pourchaire and Williams will bet on Logan Sargeant if possible.

How is this going to continue?

The only team missing from the above paragraphs is Aston Martin. Lawrence Stroll’s brigade does not have its own training program, nor does it have its own talent that can immediately join the free practice sessions. It should therefore come as no surprise that only Aston Martin has reportedly voted against the rookie plan in the Formula 1 Commission. According to leaked information, nine teams were in favor and only one formation (not a top team from 2021) voted against.

However, that does not alter the fact that the proposal has been adopted or at least passed the F1 Commission. Before it is actually implemented, the plan only needs to be formally endorsed by the FIA ​​World Motor Sport Council, although that is only a formality and all political steps have already been taken. In concrete terms, this means that the rookies can prepare for two free practice sessions on the main stage in the 2022 Formula 1 season.

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