More and more teams are making announcements in the context of the Junior Test and McLaren has now also announced who will be included in the first free practice sessions in the US and Abu Dhabi. Next weekend, 2021 IndyCar champ Alex Palou will have the chance, while Pato O’Ward will step in in Abu Dhabi.
Each team is required to exchange regular drivers with a rookie once during the first free practice weekend of the race. This is also to give young drivers the opportunity to show themselves and gain experience in the sport. For example, Nyck de Vries has already led a number of Tests for different teams, and in addition to his Monza substitute, he even gave him a seat. However, not all teams have achieved the mandatory substitutions yet.
McLaren is now announcing that it has completed rookie testing at the end of the season. Ballou may ride in Daniel Ricciardo’s car during the US Grand Prix, while Lando Norris has to deliver his car to Oward in Abu Dhabi. Then both drivers fill during the first free practice sessions.
Ballou: “I’m very excited to be making my Formula 1 debut. It’s great to be driving in the USA in front of the fans who may have seen me driving IndyCar. Looking forward to helping the team prepare for the Grand Prix,” O’Ward said: You reach the track in Abu Dhabi. I’ve evolved as a driver and had a lot of fun testing last year. Thanks for the opportunity, McLaren.”
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