Written by Lewis Rundle, Edited by Morgan Holiday
For the 2022 Formula 1 season, it feels like there are a thousand new sporting and technical regulations to wrap your head around before it unofficially begins in Barcelona. One of these rules has to do with Friday FP1 running, and it's all about providing opportunities to young prospects that haven't yet had the chance to compete in Formula 1.
The new rule makes it mandatory for every team to run a rookie in the opening session of at least two weekends within the season. It is all about providing young drivers with hands-on experience with F1 cars, as well as deepening their relationships with the teams that have given them backing through their junior careers.
While the rule allows for any driver with less than two race starts, the rule is targeted at young drivers in lower categories who are part of development programmes. The other conditions include meeting the requirements for a Free Practice Super License. This means a driver must have at least six races (three weekends) in F2 or at least 25 points on their License from the last three seasons.
Pato O'Ward during the 2021 Young Drivers Test at Abu Dhabi last season, via Getty Images
So, let's look at which up-and-coming drivers may benefit from the new rule. As not all teams have a young driver programme, some of these names are speculative.
Mercedes: Nyck De Vries and Frederik Vesti
Red Bull/AlphaTauri: Liam Lawson, Juri Vips, Dennis Hauger, and Jehan Daruvala
Ferrari: Robert Schwartzman
McLaren: Pato O'Ward
Alpine: Oscar Piastri, Jack Doohan, and Olli Caldwell
Aston Martin: N/A. This seat will likely be filled by a Mercedes-affiliated driver or sold off to the highest bidder.
Williams: Logan Sargeant, Roy Nissany, and Jack Aitken
Alfa Romeo: Theo Pourchaire and Robert Schwartzman
Haas: Pietro Fittipaldi and Robert Schwartzman
From this list, it's almost certain that we will see Oscar Piastri (F2 and F3 Champion) and Robert Schwartzman (F3 Champion) in F1 machinery this season, especially as they are without a full-time junior seat.
Highly likely contenders from outside the junior categories include De Vries (Formula E) and O'Ward (Indycar).
There are a number of new Formula 2 drivers waiting in the wings. Logan Sargeant, Dennis Hauger, Jack Doohan and Olli Caldwell all step up to the nearest category to F1 and will be eager to get a taste of the real thing.
No matter who gets to step up in 2022, it's exciting to see F1 take a more involved approach to providing young drivers the chance to embed themselves within the teams, and hopefully this continues long into the future.
Dennis Hauger (left) and Jehan Daruvala (right) will be competing in F2 for Prema in 2022, via FIA Formula 2
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