You love to see it! As part of F1’s new rule, teams will be running rookie drivers in at least two FP1 sessions this season and AlphaTauri boss Franz Tost has revealed Red Bull juniors Jüri Vips and Liam Lawson are going to be getting their first F1 appearances.
According to the rules, rookies are any drivers who have completed two or less F1 races and they must hold either a full FIA superlicence or a free practice only licence.
Tost has confirmed that Lawson will be driving for the Italian team, while Vips will get behind the wheel of Red Bull’s RB18.
“It will be Liam Lawson. And of course, this is also a decision from Red Bull. Currently, the drivers are Liam Lawson and Vips, I think that Vips will drive for Red Bull Racing and Lawson for Scuderia Alpha Tauri.
“He was also testing with us last year in Abu Dhabi, he did a good job, he is driving this year in Formula 2 and then we will see what the next steps will be.”
A Red Bull junior since 2018, Vips also took part in the post-season Abu Dhabi Young Drivers’ Test for Red Bull in 2020 and 2021. The Estonian finished sixth in F2 last year with Hitech GP, including two back-to-back victories in Baku and is remaining with them for the upcoming season.
Meanwhile, 2021 saw his former Hitech teammate Lawson take one win on his F2 debut in Bahrain, on his way to ninth in the championship. He’s moving to Carlin for the 2022 season.
Alongside his F2 campaign, the Kiwi competed in DTM with AF Corse, driving a Red Bull-sponsored Ferrari alongside Alex Albon. He became the series’ youngest-ever race winner on his debut at Monza.
Cruelly, he lost out on the DTM title by three points in the season-finale at the Norisring, after title rival Kelvin van der Linde collided with him on the opening lap.
Neither team is exactly short of options given that five Red Bull juniors will be in F2 this year, alongside Vips and Lawson there is reigning F3 champion Dennis Hauger, Jehan Daruvala and Ayumu Iwasa.
Under the new rule, we could see Mercedes call up Formula E World Champion and reserve driver Nyck de Vries or their F2 junior Frederik Vesti.
Ferrari have 2021 F2 runner-up Robert Shwartzman in reserve, while Alpine will likely give reigning F2 Champion Oscar Piastri some running.
Meanwhile, Williams have two options in Jack Aitken or Logan Sargeant, as Aitken only competed in one F1 race – the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix. Alfa Romeo have the chance to give F2’s youngest race winner, Theo Pourchaire, his FP1 debut.
We’re so excited to see more junior drivers get an opportunity to drive an F1 car. Who knows, we might be seeing them in full-time seats soon.
Who would you like to see make an FP1 appearance in 2022? Let us know in the comments below