Formula 1 fans are in for a treat during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix’s first practice session, where a lineup of talented rookies will take to the track. The reason for this is due to the fact that teams are required to let a rookie behind the wheels at least once a season. Many teams, this year, have chosen to leave that for the last race of the season.
The list of rookies set to participate in FP1 includes Frederik Vesti (Mercedes), Robert Shwartzman (Ferrari), Pato O’Ward (McLaren), Felipe Drugovich (Aston Martin), Jack Doohan (Alpine), Zak O’Sullivan (Williams), Theo Pourchaire (Alfa Romeo), and Oliver Bearman (Haas). Each of these young drivers brings a unique set of skills and aspirations to the track, offering fans a glimpse into the future of Formula 1.
For drivers like Vesti and Shwartzman, it is an opportunity to impress in a world championship-winning car. Others, such as O’Ward, who finished fourth in the IndyCar championship this season, aim to make a mark in the F1 world. Felipe Drugovich, the 2022 Formula 2 champion, continues to strengthen his ties with Aston Martin and could one day find a permanent spot on the team or any other team.
Zak O’Sullivan, a member of the Williams Driver Academy, gets his F1 practice debut after securing second place in Formula 3 this year. Pourchaire, leading the Formula 2 championship, looks to gain valuable F1 mileage while pursuing the F2 title.
Oliver Bearman, who impressed during the Mexico City FP1 session, is back to replace Nico Hulkenberg in Haas. As a four-time race winner in his maiden Formula 2 campaign, Bearman’s inclusion adds an element of curiosity to Haas’s FP1 lineup.
As the season draws to an emphatic close, giving rookies the opportunity to test their hands on some of the best cars in the world seems like the perfect idea, as it affords us a glimpse into the abilities of some of the talents that will take over drivers’ seats in the coming years.