He will be busy in terms of rookies during the first free practice session in Abu Dhabi on Friday morning at 11:00 am Dutch time. During the last FP1 edition of the season, no fewer than eight substitute drivers will take part, seven of whom are rookies.
Explain the situation first. Each team is required to change each of their regular drivers once to starters during the first free practice session of the race weekend. This is to give young drivers the opportunity to show themselves and gain experience in the sport. Nyck de Vries has already led four free practice sessions this year: Williams (Spain FP1), Mercedes (France FP1) and Aston Martin (Italia FP1). A fourth was added in Mexico, on behalf of Mercedes. In Mexico and the US it was already busy with the rookies during FP1 anyway, but it’s even more so in Abu Dhabi.
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For Max Verstappen, the time has finally come when he has to give up his seat to a rookie. Unlike Sergio Perez (Jory Phipps was his replacement) earlier this year, he did this with Liam Lawson, who will be given the opportunity in a Red Bull car for the first time and was also ex-AlphaTauri. So many minutes for Lawson, but the seat for 2023 at AlphaTauri went to Nyck de Vries. Carlos Sainz also gives up his seat this weekend during VT1. Robert Schwartzman, who previously replaced Charles Leclerc, can go for his second session in a Ferrari. However, it doesn’t stop there.
Many eyes will be on Logan Sargeant, who’s still looking for his super license. If he completes FP1 and has covered plenty of kilometres, it looks good for the American towards his seat for 2023 next to Alexander Albon. There is a good chance that the Sergeant will replace the departing Nicholas Latifi during VT1. In addition, reserve driver Felipe Drugovic, Formula 2 champion, will replace Lance Stroll during FP1 in Abu Dhabi, and Jack Doohan will do the same on behalf of Alpine for Fernando Alonso. Piettro Fittipaldi (who replaced Mick Schumacher during FP1) and Patricio O’Ward (who replaced Lando Norris during VT1 in Abu Dhabi) are also allowed to run kilometres. Finally, the exception: Robert Kubica. The reserve driver is no longer a rookie, but he will play with Zhou Guanyu during FP1.
Liam Lawson for Max Verstappen
Logan Sargent on Nicholas Latifi (?)
Robert Schwartzman on Carlos Sainz
Patricio Orde as Lando Norris
Felipe Drugovich as Lance Stroll
Pietro Fittipaldi on Mick Schumacher
Jack Doohan on Fernando Alonso
Robert Kubica (Not a Beginner) by Zhou Guanyu,
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