F1 News – Ten rookies, including FE champ Jake Dennis, to drive in FP1

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: With half of the field consisting of rookie drivers, this weekend’s first practice will be quite different.

Teams have been forced to hand over each of their vehicles to a rookie driver who hasn’t participated in more than two Grands Prix for the past few seasons. Only AlphaTauri has completed both required sessions thus far this year: Nyck de Vries, on his team debut in Australia, and Formula 2 racer Isack Hadjar, in Mexico.

Since there must be a rookie in every car, Liam Lawson, who substituted for the injured Daniel Ricciardo at the Dutch Grand Prix, could not count toward the team’s rookie quota. Ricciardo had replaced de Vries, who had already finished the rookie session in that particular car.

Thus far this season, every team has had one rookie practice; however, Red Bull is the exception, having not had a single one, and AlphaTauri has completed both rookie practices.

Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez will be absent this Friday, with Hadjar and Jake Dennis, who shared the Formula E World Championship victory with Andretti back in July, filling in. Oscar Piastri and Logan Sargeant participated in the first practice session prior to their race debuts in Australia, fulfilling half of their rookie duties, just like AlphaTauri did.

Aston Martin will field Felipe Drugovich again following his appearance in Italy, while Robert Shwartzman will return for Ferrari following his FP1 in the Netherlands. The other teams will field the same rookies they had out in a previous session this year: Alfa Romeo with Theo Pourchaire, Alpine with Jack Doohan, Haas with Oliver Bearman, and Mercedes with Frederik Vesti. All four of those teams appeared in Mexico.

As they did last year, McLaren will enter one of its IndyCar drivers, Pato O’Ward, in the Abu Dhabi Formula One as their last rookie. Lastly, Zak O’Sullivan, the recently announced Formula 2 driver for the ART Grand Prix, who is a Williams Academy driver, will make his F1 weekend debut.

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