While much focus ahead of the 2022 F1 season was on the technical regulation changes being introduced, another new rule came into effect which will have an impact on 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 fewer – during two free practice sessions in the year.
On some occasions this is a junior driver, as was the case for Red Bull when they handed the RB18 over to Juri Vips for FP1 at the Spanish Grand Prix.
This is not always the situation, though. Nyck de Vries – a Formula E World Champion in 2021 and Mercedes' current reserve driver – has twice taken part in a session in 2022, first for Williams and then with the Silver Arrows.
The Dutchman looks set to drive in another practice hour with Mercedes before the season is out.
Which drivers are yet to be in action?
Like Mercedes, Red Bull will still need to run a rookie driver for a second time in 2022. For the Milton Keynes-based squad, that driver will be Liam Lawson, who is also set to get behind the wheel for AlphaTauri.
Ferrari are going with Robert Shwartzman. The Russian driver – who is racing under the Israeli flag this season – will sit in the F1-75 for a free practice session. He is also the Italian team's test and reserve driver.
At Williams, it has been confirmed that Formula 2 star Logan Sargeant is going to be driving the FW44 during his home race weekend of the United States Grand Prix.
Uncertainty over other teams
For some teams on the grid, their plans for which rookie driver will take part in an FP1 session are not quite as clear.
At Alfa Romeo, boss Fred Vasseur has suggested that the squad were trying to find an opportunity for junior driver Theo Pourchaire to get behind the wheel.
Behind the scenes, though, Pourchaire does not yet have a contract with the team for 2023, so it may be considered a shame to give someone a chance to gain F1 experience when there is uncertainty over their future. However, there does not appear to be an alternative option.
There are big question marks at Aston Martin. The British outfit do not have any junior drivers, meaning that – because of the Mercedes engine in the back of the car – de Vries could be a candidate again, but nothing is certain yet.
Additionally at Haas there has been no announcement so far of who will drive the car, but there is a strong chance that it will be test and reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi.
Although he has already driven two Grands Prix when he replaced the injured Haas driver Romain Grosjean at the end of 2020, he still qualifies for the seat.
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The Alpine/McLaren issue
As for McLaren and Alpine, a much-discussed situation has been unfolding between the two teams regarding the services of Oscar Piastri for 2023.
Piastri – who is currently Alpine's test and reserve driver – had looked set to compete in FP1 sessions for the French outfit in 2022 but, given the wider situation, the team may now be more reluctant to fulfil this.
However, if it is in his contract, a solution will have to be found together with McLaren. The Woking-based squad 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 get into the seat.
Both have already completed private tests to prepare for a possible FP1 outing.
Alpine may still be able to rely on junior driver Jack Doohan, who is currently racing in Formula 2. The Australian seems to be the logical second choice if Piastri is eventually passed over.
Check out an overview of the driver/team FP1 plans below:
Driver/team FP1 outings in 2022
|Red Bull||Vips, Lawson||Confirmed|
|Williams||De Vries, Sargeant||Confirmed|
|McLaren||Piastri, Herta, O'Ward?||Not confirmed|
|Alpine||Piastri, Doohan?||Not confirmed|
|Alfa Romeo||Pourchaire?||Not confirmed|
|Aston Martin||De Vries?||Not confirmed|
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