A raft of rookie drivers will take centre stage this weekend for FP1 at the F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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As part of the regulations in Formula 1, every driver must give up an FP1 session to a rookie driver once in the year. A rookie driver is defined by a driver that has no more than two Grand Prix starts.

Many teams opt for satisfying this regulation towards the end of the season when the main drivers are comfortable in knowing their car’s strengths and weaknesses as well as the fact that development and updates run scarce this time of the year. The only drivers that are exempt from the rule are drivers who started the season as a rookie.

Abu Dhabi will see a flurry of activity from rookie drivers in FP1, as every team bar AlphaTauri will have rookie drivers running. Red Bull will have an all-rookie line up as they have not yet ran one in any session this year.

Here is a run through of who is driving for what team:

Red Bull | Jake Dennis and Isack Hadjar

Red Bull’s all rookie line up for FP1 will feature reigning Formula E World Champion Jake Dennis and F2 driver Isack Hadjar.

Dennis has been involved with the Red Bull team since 2018 as a simulator and development driver but has never driven a Formula 1 car at a race weekend. He did previously test for the team in Hungary five years ago, however.

Hadjar will have his second FP1 outing of the year — he preformed well for AlphaTauri in Mexico and will relish the chance to drive for big sister team Red Bull this weekend. His maiden F2 campaign also comes to an end at the Yas Marina circuit on Sunday.

Photo Credit: Red Bull Content Pool

Mercedes | Frederik Vesti

Mercedes will run Danish rookie Frederik Vesti, it will be the second time this year Vesti will drive for the Silver Arrows Team and will replace Lewis Hamilton.

Vesti is currently sitting in P2 in the F2 Championship and will have one eye on snatching this championship this weekend, trailing Theo Pourchaire by 25 points with the sprint and feature race to go.

Ferrari | Robert Shwartzman

Ferrari will run long-term development driver Robert Shwartzman. His single-seater career has stalled somewhat since his 2021 F2 championship where he finished as runner-up to Oscar Piastri.

Most recently he raced for Ferrari in the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup in 2023, but this weekend will take over the cockpit of Charles Leclerc for his FP1 run.

McLaren | Pato O’Ward

As McLaren have a rookie driver this year in the hands of Oscar Piastri, they only need to run one FP1 session with a rookie and have again opted for the services of IndyCar driver Pato O’Ward from Arrow McLaren. O’Ward ran in the very same session for McLaren last year and will substitute for British driver Lando Norris in this session.

The Mexican still retains hopes of driving in F1 down the line. He continues to impress in IndyCar.

Aston Martin | Felipe Drugovich

Brazilian driver and reigning F2 champion Felipe Drugovich will drive for Aston Martin in FP1 for the second time this year after already doing an FP1 session at Monza, taking over Lance Stroll’s car on that Friday. This weekend Drugovich will head out in Fernando Alonso’s AMR23.

Alpine | Jack Doohan

F2 driver Jack Doohan will drive in FP1 this weekend taking over Esteban Ocon’s car, after driving Pierre Gasly’s at the Mexican Grand Prix.

This weekend will also be Doohan’s last weekend racing in F2. He sits in P4 in the F2 standings and has stated that he won’t be racing in the series next year. With Alpine having no vacancies for a race seat, a year on the sidelines is looming for the Australian.

Williams | Zak O’Sullivan

With Williams having a rookie driver in Logan Sargeant, similar to McLaren’s Oscar Piastri, he does not have to relinquish his seat for any FP1 session. However Alex Albon will move aside this weekend for Zak O’Sullivan.

The Brit finished his 2023 F3 season in runner up spot following a very impressive campaign that included four wins. He will make his F2 debut in 2024.

Alfa Romeo | Theo Pourchaire

Theo Pourchaire will take the Alfa Romeo for a spin this weekend in FP1, he drove for the team in Mexico’s FP1 session as well, although did not complete a competitive lap due to mechanical issues.

This weekend he will take Zhou Guanyu’s car, but with the Frenchman sitting at the top of the standings in F2, his priority will surely be to seal the championship this weekend.

Haas | Oliver Bearman

Haas will run Oliver Bearman for the second time this season. The Ferrari junior and F2 driver will drive Nico Hulkenberg’s car this weekend. He was incredibly impressive on his debut in Mexico.

The British driver has had a mixed F2 season but has managed to add four wins to his name.

Driving in FP1 this weekend will be a nice conclusion to his year.