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Mercedes expect FIA to expand plans to put young drivers in F1 cars

The plans, if expanded, could see more and more up-and-coming F1 drivers behind the wheel of current cars.

Mercedes are expecting the new regulations regarding rookie driver testing to be expanded over the coming years, allowing more young drivers the chance to sample current F1 cars. From 2022, the sport's regulations make clear that each F1 team must dedicate two entire first practice sessions to rookie drivers. The regulations identify a rookie as a driver who has competed in no more than two F1 World Championship races during their career. As of yet, no teams have opted to draft in their rookie drivers this early in their season as F1's current crop push to build a greater understanding of their new cars. But, over the course of the year, more and more teams will have to offer rookie drivers their chance to share the track with the best of the best – and Mercedes are anticipating the number of sessions in which they will be required to trial rookie drivers to grow over the coming seasons.

Meadows hails "great idea" for F1 hopefuls

The new regulations will offer drivers such as Oscar Piastri - unlucky to miss out on a drive in F1 after being crowned F2 champion in 2021 - the chance to get behind the wheel of a current F1 car. Meanwhile, Mercedes could hand both Formula E World Champion Nyck de Vries and Formula 2's Frederik Vesti opportunities to impress other team bosses ahead of the 2023 season. "I believe it's a great idea and I think it is going to be extended in future years," said Mercedes Sporting Director Ron Meadows, speaking to the team's YouTube channel. "[It] gives these guys the opportunity to drive the current race cars against genuine opposition, as opposed to just a young driver test where teams are generally testing car parts."

The young drivers who could feature in rookie tests

To be chosen, drivers must qualify for a Friday licence, with six outings in Formula 2 being enough to land a thumbs up from the FIA. However, those who have proven successful in lower categories, such as F3 champion Dennis Hauger, may also have enough Super Licence points to be considered. Below is a list of young drivers who could, should they remain available, be considered by teams up and down the paddock: Mercedes (and Mercedes customers): Nyck de Vries, Frederik Vesti Red Bull/AlphaTauri: Juri Vips, Jehan Daruvala, Liam Lawson, Dennis Hauger Ferrari (and Ferrari customers): Robert Shwartzman, Callum Illott McLaren: Colton Herta, Pato O'Ward Alpine: Oscar Piastri, Christian Lundgaard Williams: Jack Aitken, Roy Nissany, Logan Sargeant (after six rounds in 2022) Alfa Romeo: Theo Pourchaire Haas: Pietro Fittipaldi