Ferrari racing director Laurent Mekies has hinted at the Scuderia using just one of its young drivers when obliged to run rookies in FP1 sessions in 2022.
F1 is introducing mandatory sessions for young drivers to run in free practice to further integrate F2 and F3 into F1 and provide opportunities for rookies to gain experience in the absence of strenuous testing as seen in previous years.
Ferrari boasts a driver academy including F2 hopefuls Robert Schwartzman, Alfa Romeo driver Callum Ilott - who will drive in IndyCar next season - Marcus Armstrong and Arthur Leclerc, brother of Charles.
Asked if the Scuderia would rotate its roster during the obligated FP1 running, Mekies replied: "It’s a good question. At first, as Ferrari, we welcome the opportunity to run the rookie in FP1.
"We have been investing in the younger generation for many different reasons, for a number of years so without so many testing opportunities it’s great to see that as a sport we have now the window to at least give them these FP1 opportunities.
"I tend to think that we will run only one driver because two sessions is still very little.
"We all know that it’s a very tough ask to a young driver, to get into a car in FP1, one hour, and to perform, so I think giving only one shot and not the two shots to whoever is going to probably be… is not the best way around, so I think the short answer is probably going to be one driver only."
Alpine throw support behind rookie FP1 sessions
Alpine has given one of its academy drivers an FP1 run-out already this year, with Guanyu Zhou being given an opportunity to impress at the Red Bull Ring.
Asked for his take on the regulation, executive director Marcin Budkowski explained: "We’re doing it already, so it’s not going to change an awful lot, this regulation, for us.
"We’ve run Guanyu Zhou, one of our F2 academy drivers, in Austria this year and we are looking at the opportunity to run him again in an FP1 session later this season.
"So obviously we welcome this regulation because we believe it’s the right thing to do, to develop young drivers; as Laurent mentioned, there’s very very few opportunities at the moment for young drivers to actually drive current Formula 1 cars, let alone during a proper race weekend."
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